Junta chief: Thailand to hold elections in November 2018 | News | DW | 10.10.2017
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Junta chief: Thailand to hold elections in November 2018

Thailand's ruling junta has announced plans to hold repeatedly delayed elections next year. If held, the new civilian government would still face restrictions.

Thailand will hold elections late next year, the head of the ruling junta said Tuesday.

"The exact election date will be announced around June. In November, we will have an election," Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha said at a press briefing in Bangkok.

The junta has repeatedly delayed elections since taking power in May 2014, citing reforms, security and royal succession for stalling a return to civilian rule.

Prayut had promised to return power to civilians within 18 months when he overthrew the government.

Restricted democracy

The junta drafted a new constitution passed in a controversial referendum and signed by the king in April that restricts the power of elected officials.

All senators must be approved by the military and six seats in the legislative body are reserved for officers. Future governments must also follow a "20-year plan" for the country drawn up by the junta. 

Prayut-Trump meeting

The election announcement comes after Prayut met with US President Donald Trump at the White House earlier this month.

In a joint statement issued after the meeting, the White House said that Trump welcomed "Thailand's commitment to the Roadmap, which, upon completion of relevant organic laws as stipulated by the Constitution, will lead to free and fair elections in 2018."

Prayut later sowed confusion when he said that he only promised to announce elections in 2018, but not necessarily hold them.

cw/kms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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