Friday, August 24, 2007

Thai Election Date To Be Set

Thailand: Date of general election to be set next week

The general election date will be settled next week in talks between Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont and the Election Commission, which is responsible for organising and running it, the Bangkok Post reports.

EC secretary-general Suthiphon Thaveechaiyagarn said on August 23 the meeting early next week would determine the day and cover election preparations and new electoral regulations in line with new organic laws.

The EC and Gen Surayud have indicated Dec 23 as their favoured date for the general election but an official announcement still needs to be made.

The commission has already allowed new political parties to register to contest the polls.

But Election Commissioner Sodsri Sattayatham said any newly-registered political parties must have been engaged in political activities for a year to be entitled to a financial grant.

On Tuesday, Somsak Thepsuthin will register the Matchima Thipatai party, which is the result of the merger on Monday between two groups, Matchima led by him and Ruam Jai Thai under the leadership of a former deputy prime minister in the ousted government, Somkid Jatusripitak.

Maj-Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol, alias Seh Daeng, tried to register the Seh Daeng party with the EC.

But Ms Sodsri said the army specialist cannot brand his new political party with his own name.

'In my opinion, Seh Daeng should know very well that registering a political party isn't done just for fun and that using his own name for the party is unacceptable, so the EC didn't allow him to do that,' she said.

'In the past many parties have been established with no other purpose than to get a financial grant from the EC.