Thailand lifts political campaign ban and sets election date for February 24

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Thailand lifts political campaign ban and sets election date for February 24Thailand’s military government has said political parties are free to start campaigning ahead of a long-awaited election scheduled for 24 February, 2019. The announcement ends a ban on political campaigning brought in when the military ousted the elected government in a coup four years ago.

“The election commission has set February 24 as election day,” the commission’s deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisawakul told reporters on December 11.

The military has always insisted it intends to restore democracy in Thailand. But the election date has been pushed back repeatedly.

(Update: The election date has been finally set for March 24, 2019 by the Election Commission on January 23.)

The generals took power in Thailand in 2014, overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the hugely popular Pheu Thai party.

Military leaders said at the time they were restoring order after months of political unrest which had at times turned violent. They later drew up a new constitution and changes to the electoral system, which were approved by the public in a referendum in 2017.

The constitution effectively ensures that even after the election, the military will remain an influential force in politics. It will be able to appoint the senate, which in turn will help choose the next prime minister.

But an announcement on December 11 said political parties “should be able to campaign to present their policies” so the junta had “decided to amend or abolish the laws”.

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Thailand's military government has said political parties are free to start campaigning ahead of a long-awaited election scheduled for 24 February, 2019. The announcement ends a ban on political campaigning brought in when the military ousted the elected government in a coup four years ago. “The election commission has set February 24 as election day,” the commission's deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisawakul told reporters on December 11. The military has always insisted it intends to restore democracy in Thailand. But the election date has been pushed back repeatedly. (Update: The election date has been finally set for March 24, 2019 by...

Reading Time: 1 minute

Thailand lifts political campaign ban and sets election date for February 24Thailand’s military government has said political parties are free to start campaigning ahead of a long-awaited election scheduled for 24 February, 2019. The announcement ends a ban on political campaigning brought in when the military ousted the elected government in a coup four years ago.

“The election commission has set February 24 as election day,” the commission’s deputy secretary-general Nat Laosisawakul told reporters on December 11.

The military has always insisted it intends to restore democracy in Thailand. But the election date has been pushed back repeatedly.

(Update: The election date has been finally set for March 24, 2019 by the Election Commission on January 23.)

The generals took power in Thailand in 2014, overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and the hugely popular Pheu Thai party.

Military leaders said at the time they were restoring order after months of political unrest which had at times turned violent. They later drew up a new constitution and changes to the electoral system, which were approved by the public in a referendum in 2017.

The constitution effectively ensures that even after the election, the military will remain an influential force in politics. It will be able to appoint the senate, which in turn will help choose the next prime minister.

But an announcement on December 11 said political parties “should be able to campaign to present their policies” so the junta had “decided to amend or abolish the laws”.

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