General elections in Thailand to be held in mid-October 2018

Thailand to hold its general elections in mid-October 2018 or latest by December next year and is gearing up to produce 10 organic Bills.

Body of Japanese tourist found floating in Chao Phraya River in Bangkok
A view of Chao Phraya river in Bangkok Reuters

The much anticipated general elections in Thailand is to be held in mid-October next year or latest by December 2018, according to an Election Commission official. Thailand's 2017 Constitution is set to provide sanction writers up to 240 days from April.6, this year, the day when the charter was propagated, to produce 10 organic Bills. Four among the ten bills are required to be ratified prior to the general elections.

There were conjectures regarding the publication of the four bills concerning the Election Commission, political parties, MP elections, and acquisition of senators before December 2, 2017 deadline.

The National Legislative Assembly have already validated the first two bills, providing them with royal endorsement as well. On the contrary, the other two bills are yet to be passed on to the NLA.

On Monday, Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan said that his team would require time till December 2 this year, in order to conclude exploring the last election related organic Bill on MP elections. However there is still an uncertainty regarding the whole working procedure of the NLA.

"In any case, we'll definitely finish it within the 240-day period. It will unlikely be sooner than that since we have to keep changing it to make it acceptable to all sides. Even when we're done, we might have to keep it for a while to hear potential problems," Ruchupan told The Bangkok Post .

Following the 2017 constitution, Section 268 of the same, requires the general election, to be held within 150 days, after the implementation of the four organic bills.

The NLA, following the rules of the charter, can get not more than 60 days to reckon a Bill after receiving it. Related parties, such as the Election Commission can turn down the Bill within 10 days, once the votes are employed. To wind up the differences, a panel is formed, comprising of the NLA, the Constitution writers and the opposition party, and are provided with only 15 days.

Following the rules, the NLA votes for the revised edition. The Bill is to be brought down and re-written if two-third of the members vote against it. Nevertheless, the charter does not mention the time required for rewriting the Bill, as mentioned by Udom Rat-ammarit, a CDC spokesman.

He furthers asserts that if the NLA approves the reassessed version, it will be sent to the Council of State for royal advocacy by the Prime Minister for further verification. Added to this the prime minister or one-tenth of the NLA members might suggest the Constitutional Court to check whether the Bill is against political or procedural rules of the State, with no particular time frame suggested to the court.

Since the Bill will be sent for royal endorsement, one cannot specifically assure the exact amount of time that might be required before signing it.

"As you can see, nobody can tell when to start counting down on the last 150 days (to the election)," said Udom.

If the Bill is returned unsigned to the NLA or not returned within 90 days, it up to the NLA to decide whether to rewrite or endorse it, with even less than two-third of the majority.

According to a source at the Election Commission, the election might be held in mid October or December, next year, based on the mentioned essentials.