EC flags up ‘legal obstacles’ in calendar for next election

politics June 13, 2018 01:00


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THE ELECTION Commission (EC) has prepared a calendar for the next election to be discussed with the government, according to the agency’s chief.

EC president Supachai Somcharoen said yesterday that the calendar was in line with the government’s road map but he declined to disclose details. “It could be viewed as forcing the government to fol?low the calendar, which is not appropri?ate,” he said.

Supachai said that at its upcoming meeting with the government to discuss the election, the EC plans to suggest elim?inating legal obstacles that prevent polit?ical parties from complying with the elec?toral law ahead of the national vote.

The obstacles result from the junta’s orders, including the ban on political activities. Parties have been unable to con?vene meetings or hold primary voting among party members to select election candidates, which is required by electoral law.

Supachai said the EC also was likely to ask the National Council for Peace and Order to issue a new order under Article 44 of the post-coup charter, to allow the agency to designate constituencies before the new law on the election of MPs comes into effect. 

The EC team is to be headed by its sec?retary general Jarungvith Phumma, Supachai said.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam has called a meeting with repre?sentatives from the EC and the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) today at Government House to dis?cuss legal matters regarding preparations for the election, CDC chairman Meechai Ruchupan said yesterday.

Wissanu is in charge of the govern?ment’s legal affairs.

Meechai yesterday also attempted to allay concerns by political parties about the limited time remaining for them to prepare for the election.

He said that the new constituencies would not be much different from the ones used in previous polls, and he did not think the designation would take much time.

Political parties could communicate with their members through modern channels, so it would not take too much time for them to prepare for primary vot?ing, Meechai said.

Also, a provisional clause in the electoral law states that in the first election after the new legislation takes effect, political parties are allowed to hold primary voting by provinces, and not constituencies, he said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha hinted yesterday that he would not attend the meeting between the government and political parties to be held later this month.

He said a deputy prime minister could represent the government at the meeting.

Proposals collected from politicians during the meeting would later be forwarded to him and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to consider, he said.

Among other suggestions, the PM expected a proposal for the NCPO to lift its ban on political parties.


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