Wis­sanu sees Article 44 as so­lu­tion to prob­lems faced by po­lit­i­cal par­ties

The Nation - - THAILAND - WASAMON AUDJARINT

DEPUTY PM Wis­sanu Krea-ngam hinted yes­ter­day that the gov­ern­ment might tem­po­rar­ily al­low po­lit­i­cal par­ties to seek new mem­bers so that they can keep up with the elec­tion time­line. Ab­so­lute power un­der Article 44 could be in­voked to clear the hur­dle.

Wis­sanu met with leg­is­la­tors, char­ter drafters and the Elec­tion Com­mis­sion yes­ter­day to seek so­lu­tions to prob­lems aris­ing from NCPO Or­der 53/2560, which amends the Po­lit­i­cal Party Act.

The meet­ing ended with­out yield­ing a so­lu­tion but Wis­sanu said that draft­ing a new bill or en­act­ing an Article 44 or­der were op­tions that would now be pro­posed to PM Gen­eral Prayut Chan- o- cha.

“All pro­ce­dures take time but Article 44 might be the least time-con­sum­ing,” Wis­sanu said.

“It’s the best so­lu­tion as of now, as it will not vi­o­late any other law,” agreed Elec­tion Com­mis­sion ( EC) sec­re­tary- gen­eral Pol Colonel Jarung­wit Phumma, who also at­tended yes­ter­day’s meet­ing.

The brain­storm­ing ses­sion fol­lowed ur­gent pleas by po­lit­i­cal par­ties for changes to the pri­mary vot­ing sys­tem as they fear they might not be able to get or­gan­ised in time for the elec­tion, which, af­ter sev­eral de­lays, is sched­uled for next Fe­bru­ary.

Their big­gest con­cern is that they need to ob­tain a large num­ber of new mem­bers. The new reg­u­la­tions re­quire con­test­ing par­ties to se­lect their MP can­di­dates us­ing pri­mary votes, and to do this they must have suf­fi­cient mem­bers in each con­test­ing con­stituency to pro­ceed with the pri­mary vote.

The long­stand­ing ma­jor par­ties have lost many of their pre­vi­ous mem­bers who did not “ver­ify” them­selves within the one-month pe­riod of April as per the junta’s or­der No 53/2017. That month had many pub­lic hol­i­days.

Un­der the or­der, the par­ties are no longer al­lowed to seek new mem­bers.

Speak­ing prior to the meet­ing, Jarung­wit said that one pos­si­ble so­lu­tion, apart from us­ing Article 44, is that the par­ties could de­crease the num­ber of con­stituen­cies where they con­test.

“We’ll also have to en­able par­ties to seek new mem­bers,” he said.

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