May 22, 2015 / 8:08 AM / in 2 years

Thailand again says election could be delayed

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha gestures in a traditional greeting to National Legislative Assembly members at the parliament in Bangkok, Thailand, May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Chaiwat Subprasom

BANGKOK (Reuters) - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha said on Friday a general election will take place in the Southeast Asian country in April or May 2016 - but could be delayed by three months if a referendum takes place.

Thailand’s cabinet agreed this week that a referendum should be held on the new constitution and the military’s blueprint for restoring democracy, a move likely to delay any return to democratic rule.

“I said it should be around beginning of the year, April or May, but if we have to do a referendum it should be pushed back by around three months,” Prayuth told reporters.

Prayuth’s comment comes on the first anniversary of the coup that saw the military take power from an elected government.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Tuesday the election would take place in August 2016 at the earliest to allow for the referendum.

Reporting by Pracha Hariraksapitak; Writing by Amy Sawitta Lefevre; Editing by Nick Macfie

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