Thai par­ties fret over reg­is­tra­tion

Viet Nam News - - ASIA -

Ex­ist­ing par­ties are rac­ing against time to ad­here to an or­der of the Na­tional Coun­cil for Peace and Or­der, which re­quires party mem­ber­ships to be re­newed by April 30.

BANGKOK — Politi­cians con­tin­ued to ex­press con­cerns over the mem­ber­ship re-reg­is­tra­tion process for po­lit­i­cal par­ties and said it would be dif­fi­cult to com­plete the for­mal­i­ties by the end of this month, as re­quired, due to the great num­ber of pub­lic hol­i­days.

The ex­ist­ing par­ties are rac­ing against time to ad­here to Or­der No 53/2017 of the Na­tional Coun­cil for Peace and Or­der (NCPO), which re­quires party mem­ber­ships to be re­newed, in­clud­ing the sub­mis­sion of doc­u­ments and the pay­ment of mem­ber­ship fees, by April 30.

Af­ter the Songkran hol­i­days, there will be less than 10 work­ing days left in April.

Any­one fail­ing to reg­is­ter in time will lose their mem­ber­ships and will have to re-reg­is­ter as new mem­bers. How­ever, due to the yetto-be-lifted gov­ern­ment ban on po­lit­i­cal move­ments, par­ties have been un­able to carry out any po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, in­clud­ing the ac­qui­si­tion of new mem­bers.

Par­ties, es­pe­cially the big­ger ones, have promised to do their best to com­plete the process for all their mem­bers na­tion­wide.

The gov­ern­ment or­der has been crit­i­cised as an at­tempt to de­lib­er­ately re­duce the man­power of ex­ist­ing par­ties ahead of the up­com­ing elec­tion, as the mil­i­tary is ex­pected to re­main in­flu­en­tial even af­ter the poll.

Chart Thai Pat­tana Party di­rec­tor Nikorn Cham­nong said that while his party had man­aged to use the mail­ing sys­tem and bank pay­ments as ways to fa­cil­i­tate re­mote re-reg­is­tra­tion for mem­bers, it had been de­layed by this month’s long hol­i­days for post of­fices and banks.

“The NCPO should con­sider this is­sue and find a so­lu­tion,” Nikorn said, “or they could be blamed for bul­ly­ing par­ties in the sys­tem”.

The mid­dle-sized Chart Thai Pat­tana orig­i­nally had 181 mem­bers in Bangkok and 24,710 mem­bers in other prov­inces. It has strongholds in Suphan Buri and Uthai Thani prov­inces, with 4,000 and 7,000 mem­bers re­spec­tively.

The party’s leader, Theera Wongsamut, said the party faced dif­fi­cul­ties be­cause of the junta or­der ban­ning po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.

“I still buy PM Gen­eral Prayut Chan-o-cha’s prom­ise that the elec­tion will be held by next Fe­bru­ary,” Theera said. “How­ever, we have been un­able to seek new mem­bers, set up new branches or hold ma­jor meet­ings to up­date our reg­u­la­tions and board in line with the new char­ter.”

The party wants to bring new faces to its board. “New vot­ers from the young gen­er­a­tion have in­creased since the coun­try’s last proper elec­tion. They might not know some of the old politi­cians. In­tro­duc­ing new faces should help,” he said.

Meechai Ruchuphan, the gov­ern­ment-ap­pointed char­ter drafter, said that he firmly be­lieved the elec­tion would be held “ac­cord­ing to the road map” by next year de­spite sev­eral hin­drances. — The Na­tion/ANN

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