New Thai laws mandate election by May next year

BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand has enacted laws that set in motion a countdown leading to new elections by next May.

The long-delayed measures, which became law Wednesday with their publication in the Royal Gazette, cover elections both of members of Parliament and senators.

The act covering lower house lawmakers becomes effective in 90 days and mandates that elections be held within 150 days after that, effectively setting a legal deadline in May.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who heads the military regime that seized power in a 2014 coup, said last month that the general election was likely to be held on Feb. 24, but left open the possibility of a later date.

The ruling junta has previously set dates for elections but then postponed them.