ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation
THE NATIONAL Legislative Assembly (NLA) yesterday passed the organic bill regulating political parties after it was revised by a joint law review committee, particularly the newly introduced primary voting system.
It will now be forwarded to the prime minister, a step close to royal endorsement and law promulgation.
Under the bill, the party’s internal election or the primary voting remains in the legislation. But from now on it will carry some penalties for certain breaches.
There has been controversy and concern that it would cause financial and logistic burdens on some small political parties as well as time constraints for preparations ahead of the coming election. The Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), which drafted the bill, shared the same concern. However, it had been decided that the revision should be based on the bill’s constitutionality, not whether the political parties could adapt to the change.
The CDC objected, saying the primary voting system could violate the charter’s spirit to combat corruption as no measures were introduced to prevent possible fraud within the parties. The joint committee, in response, laid out strict punishments of up to a Bt200,000 fine, 10-years imprisonment, as well as a lifelong election ban against party members found guilty of corruption in the primary voting. No party dissolution was addressed as part of the penalties.
Another change made in line with the CDC’s proposal regarded the political rights of a party leader. The joint committee agreed to allow the leader to run in the constituency. Previously, the leader could only be the first party-list candidate.
However, despite the CDC’s objections, the requirement of at least 50 members as a pre-condition for the primary voting to be held, and a stipulation allowing parties that have one provincial branch to field candidates in all constituencies was retained in the passed bill.
After the revision, NLA members yesterday voted 205-0 in favour, with two abstentions. One member did not cast a vote. It will now be forwarded to the prime minister.
The political parties organic bill is one of the 10 to be legislated to accompany the Constitution which came into effect in April.
Abhisit Vejjajiva, leader of the Democrat Party, said yesterday it was right to stipulate the punishments if the controversial primary voting system was to be adopted.
However, he questioned how much the system would improve public participation, given it required only 50 members to join the voting process. The veteran politician did not think many people would be willing to travel to the party’s poll booth, with only one in each province.