We are willing to revise primary voting clauses in key bill to ensure fairness, says NLA vetting panel head

Published July 17, 2017 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation


Gen Somjate.

Gen Somjate.

politics July 11, 2017 17:18

By The Nation

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) committee vetting the political party organic law is willing to revise the bill in order to ensure fair selection in the primary voting system, panel chairman General Somjate Boonthanom said on Tuesday.

While the NLA has not yet established a joint committee to review the controversial bill in line with legal procedure after its endorsement of the draft law in the middle of last month, the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) has submitted a letter to the assembly’s vetting committee expressing concern over clauses that it argues could result in unfairness in the primary voting system.

Somjate said the possible revision now envisaged would include giving party leaders the responsibility to regulate lawful internal-candidate selection under the system.

The Election Commission (EC) would not have the authority to issue yellow or red cards in this step of the process, he added.

If there were any irregularities, affected candidates could bring the cases to court, and their party leaders and party executive boards should be held accountable, he suggested.

Any winning candidate found to have been involved in such electoral fraud should face a legal penalty and be removed from office, he explained.

The clause in the organic law requiring a political party leader to be the first party-list candidate would also be revised, the committee chief said, adding that such a stipulation could limit the leader’s right to run for office in a constituency.

The new revision would allow a party leader to stand for parliament, while he or she would still be required to undergo the primary voting system, he stressed.

The bill would also be revisited to give all parties, regardless of their size, equal opportunity in contesting the poll, Somjate said.

The provisional clause would allow parties with 100 members gathered as party representatives in one constituency to propose MP candidates to run in all constituencies of the same province.

Previously, it stipulated that the party must have at least 100 members in each and every contested constituency, the general said.

Despite saying that the internal election would be held under the responsibility of the party leader, Somjate said that in the future the EC could lend a hand in conducting primary voting because it was well-equipped with electronic vote-counting machines.

The electoral agency would not, however, be allowed to get involved in the coming general election, as the committee feared that it would not be ready enough for that and problems might emerge, Somjate added.

He also insisted that the NLA had no plan to drop the bill despite the controversy surrounding the primary voting system.

He said there was no reason for his committee not to want to comply with the CDC’s ideas, so long as their proposals were aimed at strengthening political parties.

The fact that each body had a different approach to achieving that goal “showed the beauty of democracy”, he said.


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