Thai PM announces general elections for November 2018

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The announcement comes days after Prayut met with the US President Donald Trump and told him they would hold free and fair elections in 2018.

The Trump administration later released a statement to say the official had provided a roadmap to arranging a 2018 election, which was then confirmed by Chan-O-Cha after a period of silence from the military junta. "And the election is estimated to be held in November".

He said the election date will be announced in June, with the actual voting taking place in November, local media reported.

Prayuth said the junta will consider lifting a ban on political activities but not until after late October, when Thailand holds an elaborate five-day funeral for King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who died almost a year ago.

The military claimed the new charter, Thailand's 20th, will purge Thailand of corrupt civilian politicians and restore stability after almost a decade of political turmoil including two coups.

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This is but the latest of many election timelines mentioned since Prayuth seized power in May 2014, and installed a military government with himself as prime minister.

After seizing power the generals drafted a new charter that curbs the power of elected politicians and calls for a fully appointed upper house, with several spots reserved for military leaders.

Four organic laws are needed for a general election. The junta will want to maintain post-election control.

Shinawatra-backed parties have dominated electoral politics since 2001, using groundbreaking welfare schemes to secure the support of the rural and urban poor. His younger sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was prime minister when the military ousted the government in 2014, and recently fled Thailand to avoid a prison sentence for alleged negligence in overseeing a rice subsidy program.

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