Thailand to hold election on May 14: Poll body

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks to members of media at the Government House in Bangkok, Thailand on March 20.
PHOTO: Reuters

      BANGKOK - Thailand will hold elections on May 14, the national poll body said on Tuesday (March 21), a day after parliament was dissolved.

      The announcement came as parties step up campaigning for a nationwide contest for the support of about 52 million eligible voters. The race is shaping up to be a battle between a pro-military conservative grouping, led by the incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, against the largest opposition Pheu Thai party, headed by the billionaire Shinawatra family.

      Early voting will take place on May 7, while candidate registration, including for party nominees for prime minister, will take place in early April, said Election Commission Secretary-General Sawaeng Boonmee at a news conference.

      The commission will endorse at least 95 per cent of votes within 60 days after the poll, he said.

      "We would like everyone to respect the rules ... for smooth elections," he said.

      Political rallies have already been underway for months, but parties are now ratcheting up efforts.

      Pheu Thai is expected to hold events daily across Thailand featuring the daughter of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, Paetongtarn, who has topped opinion polls as a potential candidate for premier.

      Prayuth, who is running for re-election with the United Thai Nation Party, told reporters earlier on Tuesday that his cabinet was still governing the country.

      ALSO READ: Prayut narrows gap in poll on top choice for Thailand PM