Thailand upholds elections roadmap despite King’s death
Bangkok, Oct 17 (IANS) Thailand will maintain its intention to hold general elections late next year, as planned by the military junta’s roadmap, despite the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, an official said on Monday.
Government spokesperson Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the official mourning declared last week following the monarch’s death will not alter the normal activities of the government, nor affect trade and investment in the country, EFE news reported on Monday.
After a meeting of several government agencies, the spokesman insisted that the government led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha “is holding firm to its roadmap for the next general elections”.
“The Prime Minister conveyed a message to the meeting for all government agencies, despite being in grief, not to forget to perform their duties. We can be sad, but we can’t afford to lose our love for the country,” said Sansern.
Authorities declared a year of official mourning for King Bhumibol’s death that ended a 70-year reign.
Entertainment, including restaurants and bars, may be restricted for at least a month, while most concerts and events have been cancelled.
Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn has asked to delay his succession until the mourning period is over. His coronation would take place after the cremation of the monarch, although his proclamation could be made earlier.
Under the current legislation, Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda will serve as regent.
On October 11, two days before the king’s death, the government received the final draft of the new Constitution, approved in a referendum last August. Before the new Constitution enters into force, it must be signed by the regent.
The military junta, in power since May 2014 coup, has said that the new Constitution needs to be approved before elections to restore democracy in the country can be held.