The political ban will be eased in the near future although election campaigning will not be allowed initially, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai Party called for the complete lifting of all the political restrictions as the general election promised by the junta is just six months away.
Wissanu, who is in charge of the government’s legal affairs, said that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was considering a relaxation of political restrictions imposed after the 2014 coup.
These include allowing political parties to convene their general meetings to recruit new members, holding primary voting to select their candidates and setting up a party committee to select candidates.
“But political parties will not be able to do election campaigning” immediately after they get their candidates following primary voting, Wissanu said.
He explained that election campaigning could start only after a decree is issued on the election date.
When asked if political parties can meet their supporters after holding primary voting, Wissanu said: “You have to ask the Election Commission.”
The deputy PM said that a new NCPO order issued under Article 44 of the interim charter is required to amend the earlier orders, such as a ban on political gatherings of five and more and restriction on activities by political parties.
Meanwhile, Pheu Thai on Thursday issued a statement calling for “complete unlocking of the political bans”. The previous governing party said the easing of political restrictions was required to ensure a free and fair election for the benefit of the people and the country as a whole.
Pheu Thai said the NCPO could no longer use possible unrest as an excuse to keep postponing the next election, as the junta often claimed it succeeded in having maintained peace in the country.
The party also noted that the junta has been in power for more than four years – longer than any elected government.
It called for the lifting of all the NCPO orders that restrict political activities. “The restrictions must be entirely and completely lifted. And it should not be just ‘easing’ of the restrictions, as suggested by Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam,” Pheu Thai’s statement said.
Pheu Thai said the complete lifting of the restrictions would allow political parties to start their preparations for the next election, as required by the law.
“We are not calling for the benefit of politicians. There is a need to build confidence for the country and to make the election free, fair and credible,” the party said.