More preparations as general election nears realization

CDC Chairman Meechai Ruchuphan.
CDC Chairman Meechai Ruchuphan.

Bangkok – Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) Chairman Meechai Ruchuphan has expressed confidence the general election will take place according to the government’s roadmap and the Prime Minister’s proclamation of February next year, apart from any unexpected obstacles.

Meechai explained that the Constitution indicates that once all necessary legislation for a general election takes effect, the poll must take place within 150 days. Steps towards holding the vote include the division of polling zones by the EC and primary voting within parties to select candidates. The CDC head noted the 150 days does not include the time it will take to count votes with an extra 60 days from the conclusion of polling allotted for the counting process. He has nonetheless recommended the EC issue regulations on polling zones and other matters so that work can begin during the 90 day period, while the nation is waiting for legislation on MPs to take effect.

Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-ocha meanwhile says his administration is doing all it can to clear the way towards a general election but is also resolute in following all required steps. The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has forwarded legislation concerning the origin of Members of Parliament (MPs) to the Prime Minister to seek royal approval, while the Deputy Prime Minister for legal affairs has called for a meeting with both the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) and Election Commission (EC).

EC Chairman Supachai Somcharoen, explained that the 5.8 billion baht allotted for the general election is actually the usual 3 billion baht for the process with added funding for provincial election auditors who must be paid travel, lodging and other expenses. Other costs include assistants for auditors, printing of ballots, campaign posters, data collection, protection of witnesses of election fraud and awards for whistle blowers. The funding is to come from the central budget rather than the expenditure budget.