Bt4 billion allocated for snap election


BANGKOK, Dec 17 – Thailand’s caretaker government today approved a budget of nearly Bt4 billion for the Feb 2 general election.

Chalitrat Chandrubeksa, deputy spokesman of the Prime Minister’s Office, said international organisations and media will be invited to observe the nationwide poll which will cost Thailand Bt3.885 billion.

He said the foreign and interior ministries were assigned to coordinate with the Election Commission (EC) to allow international agencies in order to have their first-hand accounts on the election.

Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra stood firm that she was obliged by the Constitution to continue with her administrative responsibility until a new government takes office.

“The Constitution doesn’t allow a caretaker government to resign. That’s why I can’t follow the protesters’ demand,” she said.

Anti-government protesters have repeatedly called on Ms Yingluck and her caretaker cabinet to resign to pave the way for a national reform before an election is held.

The caretaker premier added, “Now that the royal decree has set February 2 for the election, I’d like to urge all parties to follow it and move on with the election process. Let the people elect their leaders to run the country. The government is willing to help the Election Commission to ensure a fair election by inviting all quarters

to witness it.”

She said she has until next Monday to decide if she would run in the snap poll as the first candidate on the Pheu Thai’s party list.

The EC set December 23-27 for candidates to submit their applications to run in the election.

Ms Yingluck welcomed proposals and opinions from various political forums on Thailand’s reform but insisted that the timing for a national reform must be in accord with the Constitution.

She said she personally advocated a national reform after the election.