Thai PM will not commit to poll date

Thai PM will not commit to poll date
A file photo of Thai junta leader and Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-O-Cha taken on October 10, 2014.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday refused to say exactly when the elections would be called, saying the timeframe would depend on when Thailand achieves its goals in accordance with the National Council for Peace and Order's reform roadmap.

"If we continue fighting or opposing what we initiate, how will the country move forward?" he asked.

He said an election would be called after the new Constitution is drawn up and reforms on 11 fronts are completed.

He admitted that his government might not be able to solve some problems due to time constraints and that the next government would have to continue working on finding solutions.

"Please don't put pressure on me. I did not write the roadmap alone. I am not the chairman of the National Reform Council and I'm not chairman of the charter drafting committee,'' he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam had said earlier that general elections might be held in early 2016.

Separately, Prayut said he was concerned about the country's situation when he leaves for Italy to attend the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (Asem), which runs until tomorrow.

"Please help take good care of the country, should any issues arise. We must help ensure peace and order and refrain from creating conflicts,'' he said.

Discussion behind closed doors

Meanwhile, the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will hold a closed-door debate tomorrow before calling for a vote on whether the assembly should go ahead with impeaching two politicians from the previous government charged with constitutional offences.

NLA member Somchai Swangkarn said the meeting would be held behind closed doors because the discussion might implicate a third party.

The NLA will be discussing legal technicalities on whether the assembly can impeach the two politicians, as their alleged offences must be prosecuted under the 2007 Constitution, which is now defunct.

If not, the assembly will have to see if there are other laws that they can take recourse to.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) had earlier recommended that the Senate launch impeachment proceedings against former Parliament president Somsak Kiatsuranont and former Senate deputy speaker Nikom Wairatpanich.

Somchai said the NLA would decide if the impeachment case against the two politicians should be put to rest or handed back to the NACC, which can then take it to the new Parliament.

All decisions made by the NLA regarding the issue would be based on simple majority, he said.

Somchai also dismissed claims that the NLA did not have the authority to make a decision on the impeachment case, arguing that Article 5 of the interim charter empowers the NLA to make a final decision in any legal disputes.

He also rejected the reason that politicians in question should not face impeachment, as they no longer held political office.

He said the politicians in question would still face a five-year political ban if they were found guilty of offences, citing the impeachment of former premier Somchai Wongsawat and former deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban.

Former Pheu Thai Party MPs led by Amnuay Khlangpha yesterday submitted a letter to NLA chairman Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, calling on the assembly to exercise its judgement and prudence in deciding whether to go ahead with impeaching Somsak and Nikom.

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