Thai military chief affirms election within this year

Chairman of Thailand's Council for National Security (CNS) General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin reiterated that the general election will be held by the end of this year, regardless of whether the draft charter passes a national referendum set on Aug. 19.

Thai military chief affirms election within this year
Chairman of Thailand's Council for National Security (CNS) General Sonthi Boonyaratkalin reiterated that the general election will be held by the end of this year, regardless of whether the draft charter passes a national referendum set on Aug. 19.

Sonthi, who also served as the Army Chief and led the Sept. 19 coup last year to oust then prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, made the statement during a live radio interview, according to the Bangkok Post website.

If the draft charter is rejected in the referendum, Sonthi said, the CNS will adopt an amended version of the 1997 constitution. If so, "the amendments will not be made simply to ensure that some politicians will not be eligible to contest the general election."

Thaksin's party, the former ruling Thai Rak Thai party, was ordered to disband in a court verdict in May on electoral fraud charges, while all party executives were deprived of voting rights and forbidden to seek political posts for five years.

Sonthi said he is certain new leaders of the anti-coup group, the Democratic Alliance against Dictatorship (DAAD), are not capable of causing as much damage to the nation's interests as the nine key leaders who have been detained on charges of instigating unrest after they organized an anti-coup mass rally in the capital on July 22, during which violence occurred.

Agencies
Last Mod: 31 Temmuz 2007, 15:28
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