Thailand signals election could be delayed until May

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Thailand's Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwan (C) arrives at a meeting with political parties in Bangkok, Thailand, June 25, 2018. Reuters

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand will hold a general election by May 5 next year, a deputy prime minister said yesterday, signalling the possibility of another delay of a vote that had tentatively been set for February.

The military has been running Thailand since a May 2014 coup, when it ousted the civilian government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, citing the need to end street protests, and banned political activity in the name of peace and order.

It has promised to hold a general election but has repeatedly pushed back the date, most recently suggesting polls would be held by February 2019.

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But Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, citing a time frame determined by constitutional stipulations and legislative steps, told reporters various dates were possible from Feb. 24, with the latest being May 5.

Wissanu also said the junta would ease a ban on political activity by parties between September and December this year, allowing them to undertake administrative tasks in preparation for the election.

But bans on public gatherings of more than five people and political campaigning would remain in place during that period, Wissanu said.

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