BANGKOK — Deputy junta leader Prawit Wongsuwan quickly doused expectations Wednesday that general elections would take place next year.
Gen. Prawit, who is also deputy prime minister, said that when the junta leader told US President Donald Trump elections would be announced next year, it did not mean they would be held in 2018.
Prawit insisted Wednesday that what Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said in Washington D.C. was no guarantee, and that a date for elections would only be announced when all of the legal framework had been put in place to facilitate elections. After that, the constitution calls for up to 150 days to prepare for elections.
That means, were Prayuth to announce elections in October, they would take place the following March.
“How I can be confident?” Prawit told reporters after being asked about the opposition Pheu Thai Party’s expressed lack of confidence in the elections timeframe.
Prayuth made a general commitment to staging elections while on a state visit to the White House at Trump’s invitation.
Speaking of the visit, Prayuth said he delighted by the red carpet reception he received there and called Donald Trump a “true friend.”
Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a longtime elections commissioner serving in a caretaker capacity until he is replaced, said the commission would be ready to hold elections next year.
He said it was unclear to the commission whether the 150-day timeframe stipulated by the new constitution refers to when the election must be held or when the outcome needs to be certified.