So all the “legal” hurdles have been cleared and the junta’s “election” should be able to be planned, repression lifted and so on. Right? Well, the answer is a resounding “No.”
The Bangkok Post reports that even the military regime’s “plan” to hold a “dialogue with political parties” – actually an occasion for the junta to tell the parties what they may do – is now “unlikely to take place this month as originally scheduled, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.”
Wissanu even cast doubt on the “pressing need for talks,” which he said has “subsided.” He then said the junta “remains adamant they will happen.”
These are the “talks” that The Dictator has said are needed before he will even consider lifting bans on campaigning. It seems the “pressing need” has “subsided” because the junta will delay the “election” as long as possible, which currently seems to mean April 2019. So the “talks” can be delayed another couple of months.
Wissanu says there will be two meetings between parties and junta. He stated: “The first meeting would be preliminary and when the election time frame is clear, a second meeting can be called…”. Hmm. So the timing of the election remains unclear.
He was uncharacteristically truthful, saying: “It’s impossible to get into specifics.” He even, finally, accepted that the junta’s much used and solemnly declared “road map” is dead (in fact, it has never existed except as a rhetorical device). He stated: “The best we can do is to make ‘mini roadmaps’.”
Wissanu admitted that the junta hasn’t even begun talks with various parts of the government on “legal issues facing election preparations before the planned meeting with political parties.”
And he went on to suggest that a law regarding poll preparations may be needed.
In other words, even April is looking shaky as a date for the junta’s “election.”