Democrats blast MP term-limit proposal

national July 09, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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EC accused of 'looking like amateurs'

Politicians have cried foul over the Election Commission’s proposal to restrict MPs’ rights by letting them  serve only two consecutive four-year terms.
Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intarasombat described the proposal as a daydream, saying the EC has lost touch with reality, as no democratic country has such a restriction. 
“The proposal makes the agency look like amateurs. They should wake up and have a strong cup of coffee and learn that only the term of a premier or president is limited,” he said.
He said restricting MP terms would cripple the government-checking mechanism because the country needs strong opposition parliamentarians who have skills, experience and knowledge in law and politics. 
Democrat Party’s chief legal specialist Wiratana Kalayasiri also disapproved of the idea, saying many MPs have knowledge of their constituencies in depth and their constituents should be able to vote them back in to continue working for locals.
He also voiced opposition to a proposal to prevent MPs from becoming members of political parties, saying the EC needs to install a mechanism to prevent political parties from dominating MPs.
Wiratana pushed for the proposal to prevent prime ministers and Cabinet members who have stepped down or lost their posts from serving as caretakers, but instead allowing permanent secretaries to take over.
He also agreed with the proposal that the EC is solely responsible for scheduling an election date without requiring the approval of the PM.
EC secretary-general Puchong Nutrawong said the commission had not reached any conclusion to change election laws but only prepared studies on the advantages and drawbacks of various election systems. 
The EC has suggested that a mixed system of both constituencies and party lists be maintained. However, he said the constituency system should be changed from single-member to multi-member. He also recommended that the number of MPs from both election systems should be similar.
He said the EC also proposed that MPs not be required to follow orders from their parties. They would have to be a member of a political party for at least one year before applying as a candidate for Parliament. 
Other proposals are that MPs cannot serve more than two consecutive terms. Spouses, children, and parents of MPs would banned from becoming MPs and senators in the same term as their relatives.
Puchong said the EC would soon present its studies and proposals to the National Council for Peace and Order. The National Legislative Assembly will make the decision in regard to any changes. 

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