Thailand sets election for December 23, to end military rule

Thai prime minister Surayud Chulanont said Monday that a general election would be held on December 23rd, enabling a return civilian rule following last September's military coup.

Thailand sets election for December 23, to end military rule
Thai prime minister Surayud Chulanont said Monday that a general election would be held on December 23rd, enabling a return civilian rule following last September's military coup.

The date was fixed after the Election Commission agreed that it could hold a clean, fair and safe vote on that date, Surayud said announced.

He said the vote will enable the existing caretaker civilian government to give way to a popularly elected government with a mandate to revive the economy and maintain national unity.

Surayud was appointed by the military junta that overthrew the government of premier Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19 after several corruption scandals and the dissolution of parliament.

Thaksin, a former police officer and multibillionaire, was a divisive figure who built a political base among rural poor with offers of populist programmes. But he also came to totally dominate the government and its autonomous institutions, eliminating the checks and balances on political power.

His powerful Thak Rak Thai party has since been dismantled by the constitutional court, corruption charges have been filed against Thaksin and his wife, and parts of his great wealth have been seized.

A national referendum approved a new constitution August 19, which is designed to prevent a future premier obtaining Thaksin-like power. But popular support was much weaker than the junta hoped for, with only 58 per cent approving the charter, and promising a tough fight for power between several political parties and factions after the December election, said political analysts.

"No one has come up with better and more appealing policies that Thaksin brought to the country. This election is going to be very tricky for everybody," said Jon Ungpakorn, a prominent social activist and former senator.

DPA
Last Mod: 27 Ağustos 2007, 23:49
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