By Riyaz ul Khaliq
ANKARA (AA) - Long-awaited elections are slated for March 24 in military-ruled Thailand, media reports said on Thursday.
The decision -- announced on Wednesday by the Thai Election Commission -- came after a royal decree was issued by the country’s monarch, according to local daily The Nation.
Chief Election Commissioner Ittiporn Boonpracong said the date would allow all necessary “activities” to be carried out “in time”, without setting a timetable for the declaration of results.
The decision came five days ahead of the official deadline, after months-long pro-election demonstrations.
Elections in the southeast Asian country had been delayed four times since 2014, when the army overthrew the civilian government.
“The Royal Decree is already published. I ask that everyone respect and go toward the #election2019 with peace, for peace in the country,” ruling military-appointed Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Twitter after the declaration.
Thailand witnessed its last general election in 2014 when former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra dissolved the parliament on Dec. 9, 2013, following massive anti-government protests.
Shinawatra was re-elected but subsequently overthrown by the Thai army in 2014.