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Amendment ‘could solve political-ban issue’

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Amending the organic law governing political parties has been suggested as a solution to the impasse over the junta’s refusal to life the ban on political gatherings.

Because of the ban, political parties are unable to begin making arrangements proscribed by law for the election due to be held late next year.
Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Commission and a member of the National Council for Peace and Order, floated the idea on Wednesday following growing concern that the parties may not be able to meet the deadline should the restrictions remain.
Parties may first opt to request that the Election Commission (EC) prolong the preparation period, he said. If that did not work out, an amendment could be the last resort.
If parties decided to exercise their right to amend the law, the EC would have to make a request to the government, Meechai explained. This approach was more appropriate than invoking Article 44, he said.
The organic law on political parties was enacted last month, so the countdown to the election has officially begun.
Under the law, political parties are required, for instance, to make adjustments such as updating registration records and report them to the registrar of the EC within 90 days. Failing to comply with the stipulations could make them ineligible to field candidates in the election.
Meechai suggested that parties in the process of cleaning up their records could reach out to their members for updates using letters or the Internet. However, each member would have to provide his or her signature to guarantee the information was truthful.
“I don’t know whether they can make it in time. We have to ask them. But if they can’t, they have to report [to relevant agencies] so the EC can fix it.”
Meanwhile, deputy Wissanu Krea-ngam said that the NCPO was well aware of the issue and it believed that related bodies would be able to handle the situation.
It was not a problem and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha had assured everyone that he would not let it hurt the political parties’ rights, Wissanu said.
“I believe PM knows what to do. There’s no need to be worried now,” he said. “We know that if the parties could not comply with the law, it would affect them. Now, we will try to find a solution.”

Published : November 15, 2017

By : Khanittha Theppajon The Nation