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PM reverses; polls will not be early

( - Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont reversed himself on Saturday, saying it is impossible to hold general elections before mid-December.

On Friday, the prime minister said that if the country was politically peaceful, elections would be held earlier than the current schedule of either Dec 16 of Dec 23.

But he said on Saturday that he misspoke, and was only saying he wished elections could be sooner.

In fact, the country cannot be ready for early elections for a number of reasons, he now admits.

Gen Surayud said that although he personally wants the general election to occur sooner than designated this was not possible. Many parties, especially the Election Commission, are still underprepared.

He also realised that if the date were moved up, it could conflict with the Royal celebrations for His Majesty the King's 80th birthday, which falls on Dec 5.

The bottom line, said the premier, is that the dates for the general election cannot be pushed ahead, and would remain for now as either Dec 16 or 23.

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