As it stands, the draft organic bill on political parties could create timeline conflicts and procedural constraints in the run-up to the next general election, Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchuphan said on Monday.
He was speaking following the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) having passed the draft law – originally written by the CDC – last Thursday, when assembly members added a requirement that all political parties must hold a primary election to select MP candidates prior to the general election.
The draft has been submitted to the CDC, the Election Commission and the Constitutional Court, who have 10 days to send points back to the NLA.
If they have comments to make, the three bodies might set up a joint committee to further vet the draft.
Meechai said he was concerned that the stipulation for parties to each hold a primary election could create a timeline conflict in election procedures, given that the MP candidate registration process would normally last for seven to 10 days.
Primary elections would in themselves take some time and he doubted whether the whole process could then be completed within the registration period.
According to the NLA’s vetted draft, primary elections could take place only once constituencies are known.
As they are usually announced close to the general election date, he also doubted that they could all actually be managed in time.
The draft should have also have addressed measures to ensure transparency in the primary voting, he stressed.
“The charter’s will is to enable political parties to nominate candidates for election,” the chief charter drafter said, adding, “If [the organic law draft] obstructs parties from doing so, that could be problematic.”
Deciding whether or not the draft would violate the charter also justified the CDC’s position in the joint committee vetting the draft, Meechai said.