Thai poll agency: Royal endorsement for December election expected by Oct. 15

By Xinhua

Bangkok : The general election date of Dec. 23 is expected to be officially set with the royal endorsement no later than Oct. 15, according to Thailand’s Election Commission (EC) chief.

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The EC Chairman of Thailand’s Election Commission, Apichart Sukhagganond said Saturday that the draft decree for setting the election date on Dec. 23 has already been submitted to the King, according to news network The Nation’s report.

Once the decree is endorsed, expected by Oct. 15, the election will be held as scheduled, Apichart said.

The remarks were responding to reports that certain groups, ledby some National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members, are launchinga campaign to topple the interim administration led by Surayud.

Surayud, who took oath Friday to become Interior Minister of the concurrently as prime minister, said in an TV interview aired on state TV Channel 11 Saturday that he took the post to help the EC organize a clear and fair election, as the Interior Ministry isthe agency that can most support the EC.

The appointment came after five members of the Surayud cabinet,including former Interior Minister Aree Wong-areeya, resigned a few days earlier after named by the National Counter Corruption Commission as holding company shares of over 5 percent, which is in violation with the 2000 anti-graft law.

Though members of the interim government are not bound by the rule, the five ministers were pressured to resign under criticism over their “political ethics”.

The disclosure by the NCCC over the ministers’ share-holding controversy, which led to the resignations, was widely suspected to be part of a campaign to topple the Surayud government.

The NLA is expected to table the motion this week to censure Surayud and his Cabinet over “ethical problems” related to their assets.

Surayud has vowed to stay on to lead the interim government andto see to it the election is conducted in a clear and fair fashionas scheduled.