Thailand’s junta leader says elections at least one year away


Thailand’s military announces that elections will not be held any time soon.

In a televised statement, Army Chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha announced that elections in Thailand will be held not less than a year from now. General Prayuth announced a three-phased plan to reconcile parties and implement reforms that will pave the way for the elections. The plan includes drafting a new constitution and appointing an interim prime minister to execute the process.

Despite the army imposing martial law and banning rallies, there have been small protests against the coup on the streets of Bangkok without major incidents.

Activists on social media announced they will lobby to restore democracy.

The US and several other Western governments condemned the military coup in Thailand and called for restoring democracy immediately. Australia has taken harsher measures by downgrading its relations with Thailand, imposing a travel ban on leaders of the military junta and cutting its defence co-operation. They are reportedly the toughest punitive measures a Western country has taken against Thailand whose army generals staged a coup on May 22.

Julie Bishop, Australia’s foreign minister, and David Johnston, the defence minister, said in a joint statement that Australia was reducing its engagement with the Thai military and will lower the level of interaction with the Thai military leadership..

The anti-government protests began last November after Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her Pheu Party passed an amnesty bill. Protesters felt that the bill was made for Yingluck’s elder brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was prime minister until he was deposed in a military coup in 2006.

On May 22, General Prayuth staged a coup against Shinawatra’s government after she was forced to step down by the constitutional court earlier this month.