Thailand’s junta leader confirms national polls would be held in 2017
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Thailand’s junta leader confirms national polls would be held in 2017

THAILAND’S military government has assured the public that general elections will be held in November 2017 following the recently approved constitution that has accorded the junta more powers in the government.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army chief who took power after a coup in 2014, has insisted before that he will hold elections in 2017 but until now had not given a specific month.

Speaking to reporters Tuesday, he dismissed a journalist’s suggestion that the polls could be postponed to 2018.

Following the junta’s so-called road map to democracy, it “would put us on November 2017 when the whole process would be complete. So why would the elections be held in 2018?” he said.

SEE ALSO: Damned if you vote ‘yes’, damned if you vote ‘no’: 9 problems with Thailand’s draft charter

Prayuth has made the assurance before when attending a cabinet meeting with the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) at Government House.

According to the Bangkok Post, Prayuth told the meeting that the government would continue explaining the draft charter to the public. The authorities, he said, would also continue to update them on steps to be taken following the polls on the draft charter.

On Sunday, Elections Commission (EC) officials said 61.45 percent voted in favor of the military government-backed constitution, while only 38.55 percent voted against after counting 94 percent of all ballots cast.

After the unofficial results trickled in, Prayuth said the referendum is part of the government’s road map towards democratic political reforms.

He said the vote was necessary for a “bona fide democracy and thus for Thailand not to remain as a kleptocratic state”.

“The government will pay heed to the will of the people today and will do everything possible to address their concerns while providing a sustainable solution to our country’s political problems,” he said.

Additional reporting from the Associated Press