Update: Election date is set for March 24.
BANGKOK — The final hurdle to holding an election this year was cleared Wednesday morning by a royal decree that brings Thailand closer to the elusive poll.
Signed by King Vajiralongkorn, the brief royal decree empowered the government and related agencies to hold voting for the House Representatives. The Election Commission has five days to set a date for election day after the decree is enacted.
For the past year, the junta had pledged an election would be held Feb. 24, but officials have walked back that vow since early January, when His Majesty the King announced that his coronation would take place May 4.
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Election officials said earlier this month they could not finalize the date without a royal decree, which had failed to materialize as expected.
Media reports in recent days cited government sources that a new date would be set for March 24. Minutes after the royal decree was enacted, the Election Commission called an urgent meeting at its headquarters, raising speculation that an election date would be announced as early as today.
Election laws require the poll take place before May 9.