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PM Promises Thai Election In November 2018

Bangkok, Wed Oct 11 2017
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Thailand will hold elections in November 2018, junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha said after a cabinet meeting yesterday afternoon. “In November 2018, there will be an election. Is it clear?” he told reporters outside Government House in Bangkok.

He said the election date will be announced in June, with the actual voting taking place in November, local media reported.

The military took power in a coup in May 2014 and ousted elected Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra following months of citizens occupying the streets and demanding her government step down.

After seizing power, the generals drafted a new charter that curbed the power of elected politicians and called for a fully appointed upper house Senate, with several spots reserved for military leaders.

The junta has also said that any future government must adhere to a “legally binding 20-year-plan” for the country that is still in the works.

The election announcement comes after Prayuth travelled to the U.S. earlier this month to meet with President Donald Trump at the White House — an embrace the junta chief was denied under Barack Obama’s administration.

A joint statement after the meeting said Trump welcomed Thailand’s commitment to “lead to free and fair elections in 2018.”

That unexpected announcement caused a commotion back in the kingdom, where Prayuth initially walked the statement back and said only that a specific date would be announced in 2018.

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