Thailand's military junta will hold the general election December 16 or 22 this year, more than a year after ousting the elected government in a coup.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont said the election would be held on a Sunday and a final date would be decided later. He said a referendum on the new constitution, currently being drafted, would be held before September to pave the way for the new election.
"We are going to hold the election as promised this year," he told reporters after a meeting with the Council for National Security yesterday which was formed by the military after the September 19 coup that ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Surayud also said that there was no need to impose emergency rule in the capital despite attempts by Thaksin supporters to hold a rally on Friday.
The retired army chief came to power in October last year after the military ousted Thaksin who was accused of power abuse and corruption.
The military, led by army chief and CNS chairman Gen Sonthi Bunyaratglin, had promised that they would hand over power to a civilian government once a new election is held within one year after the coup.
The last general election was called and won handsomely by Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai party in April, 2006 but it was boycotted by other major opposition parties, including Thailand's oldest political party, the Democrats.
Both the parties are now facing possible dissolution for financing small parties to either contest or boycott the election last year.