In order to prepare for a general election to be conducted in May, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha announced on Tuesday that he will dissolve Parliament in March.
The four-year term of the government ends on March 23, but Prayuth made a suggestion that he will dissolve the House of Representatives earlier in statements to media following a Cabinet meeting. The election was likewise scheduled for May 7, though the specifics are still being worked out.
Prayuth, who oversaw a coalition government, is running for re-election. When he staged a military coup in 2014 to overthrow a democratically elected civilian government, he first rose to power. He did not participate in the 2019 general election, but he was the Palang Pracharath party’s prime ministerial candidate, which was backed by the military and assembled a coalition government.
While Prayuth has joined a new party, the Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party, or United Thai Nation Party, which has designated him its candidate, Palang Pracharath has selected Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan—also a retired general—as its candidate for prime minister in this year’s election.
There is currently no definite front-runner in the campaign due to the opposition Pheu Thai party’s strong performance in early surveys.
According to a constitutional clause that was upheld by the courts last year, Prayuth can only serve an additional two years of his eight-year term.
Anucha Burapachaisri, a government spokesperson, stated that if the election takes place as planned in early May, the Election Commission will validate the results in early July. By mid-July, the new session of Parliament would begin, elect a chair, and select a new prime minister, who would take office at the end of the month.
An official campaign period of 45 to 60 days would be permitted if Parliament were to be dissolved before the conclusion of the current administration’s mandate.