Oct 15 vote likely to be postponed: Thai PM | india | Hindustan Times
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Oct 15 vote likely to be postponed: Thai PM

india Updated: Sep 09, 2006 12:50 IST
Reuters

Next month's general election in Thailand will probably be delayed, Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said on Saturday, extending a political crisis that has already lasted eight months.

"It is likely to be delayed as we have expected, but until then (we) need to wait for election commissioners' suggestions," Thaksin told reporters.

After a 10-hour, closed-door debate, the 181-seat Senate voted on Friday to choose five new election commissioners -- four senior judges and a top public prosecutor -- from a 10-strong shortlist proposed by the Supreme Court.

It took time for the new election commissioners to receive royal approval, Thaksin said.

Top public prosecutor Prapan Naikowit, one of the new commissioners, said the team would hold its first meeting on September 14, to discuss the election meant to clear up the mess left by a boycott and annulled snap poll in April.

"The October 15 (election) is not possible. We should not be able to make it. But we need to discuss with the team and political parties when is good for the election," he said.

The team would also select its chairman at the meeting and probably discuss the new election date.

Thaksin, who called the April poll to counter a Bangkok-based street campaign trying to oust him, has already suggested a delay of a month to ensure a problem-free re-run.

Other commentators and analysts have speculated the poll may even be delayed until December.

The main opposition parties boycotted the April poll, rendering its result inconclusive.

The courts then annulled the entire election, and threw the standing Election Commissioners into jail for overseeing the fiasco.

The mess has left Thailand with no functioning parliament and a caretaker government unable to make major policy decisions for more than four months. Economists are worried about implications for long-term growth, putting pressure on the stock market.

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