Thailand’s military leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has announced that new elections will only take place after October 2015.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha made the announcement in a speech that an interim constitution would be adopted next month.
A temporary cabinet would then govern until elections next year.
The military seized power on May 22, saying it wanted to return stability to Thailand after months of political and social unrest.
Since then, Thailand has been run by a military junta called the National Council for Peace and Order. It insists it is a neutral player among the country’s rival political factions.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said any new election in Thailand would have to take place under a new constitution (photo Reuters)
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, who led the coup, said any new election would have to take place under a new constitution, which would be drafted by an appointed body.
“We want to see an election that will take place under the new constitution… that will be free and fair, so that it can become a solid foundation for a complete Thai democracy,” he said in a televised address.
“Today, if we go ahead and hold a general election, it will lead to a situation that creates conflict and the country will return to the old cycle of conflict, violence, corruption by influential groups in politics, terrorism and the use of war weapons” he added.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha also denied reports that the coup was planned in advance with anti-government protest leaders.
“I did not join any process or take part with any side”, he said.
The denial came after reports that protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban said that he had discussed overthrowing the government with Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha many times in recent years.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha and the army took over two weeks after PM Yingluck Shinawatra was removed from her role by a controversial court ruling.
Thailand’s military coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has said elections will not be held for more than a year, to allow time for political reconciliation and reform.
In a televised address, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha called on all sides to co-operate and stop protesting.
He repeated warnings against any resistance to the military.
Thailand’s military coup leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha has said elections will not be held for more than a year, to allow time for political reconciliation and reform (photo Reuters)
The Thai army seized power on May 22, and detained senior politicians for several days saying stability had to be restored after months of unrest.
In his first public address since the coup, Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha said: “The ruling military regime have a timeframe of one year and three months to move towards elections.
“Enough time has been wasted on conflict.”
He said a first phase of about three months would focus on “reconciliation” with a cabinet and new draft constitution put in place.
Reforms would then be introduced over a second, year-long, period and only after this could elections be held.
“Give us time to solve the problems for you. Then the soldiers will step back to look at Thailand from afar,” he added.
Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has previously warned that if protests continued he would have no choice but to use force.
In his address he repeated the warnings, saying resistance would only slow the process of bringing “happiness” back to the Thai people.
Also on Friday, hundreds of troops sealed off a major Bangkok intersection during the evening rush hour to prevent a possible protest.
Thailand’s military stepped in after six months of political deadlock as protesters tried to oust the government of PM Yingluck Shinawatra.
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