01/23/2019, 10.27
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Bangkok, king decrees first post-coup elections

The military overthrew the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra in May 2014. The decree establishes the official start of the election campaign. Challenging parties linked to the junta or the still influential Shinawatra family.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The king of Thailand has issued a royal decree that establishes the first general elections after the 2014 coup d'état. The Royal Palace issued the provision, published in the Royal Gazette, granting the electoral Commission five days to announce the date of the vote.

The elections will be the first since the military overthrew the administration of Yingluck Shinawatra in May five years ago. Since then, the junta has rewritten the constitution and exerted strict control over dissent, conferring government mandates to main allies.

The military government had previously stated that the elections would be held no later than the end of February. According to the observers, the late signature of the 66 year old sovereign Maha Vajiralongkorn can mean that they will be postponed for several weeks. The decree establishes the official start of the election campaign, although a number of new parties - including some aligned to the military, others to the still influential Shinawatra family - are already engaged in meetings and recruitment activities.

Analysts claim that the army is planning a return to the government through the Phalang Pracharat party and that Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha aims at the role of civil leader after the elections. The political party is already conducting a recruitment campaign in the traditional rural base of Yingluck and her brother Thaksin, also overthrown by a previous coup in 2006.

Many wonder whether Pheu Thai, a Shinawatra-related party, can still count on the loyalty of its electoral strongholds even without the guidance of the two siblings. Both remain in exile to avoid trails that they say are politically motivated.

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