Ban on new parties upheld for those shorn of rights

Ban on new parties upheld for those shorn of rights

The parliamentary committee scrutinising bills amending two election-related organic laws yesterday shot down a move to allow people whose election rights were revoked from setting up a political party.

Panel spokesman, Akradet Wongpitakroj, the Democrat MP for Ratchaburi, said 24 members rejected a proposal seeking to allow those banned from politics from forming political parties. Nineteen members voted for the proposal while two abstained.

Mr Akradet said the committee voted to keep annual membership fees and life-membership fees for political party members at 20 baht and 200 baht, respectively. He said the two controversial issues of primary voting and calculation and distribution of party-list seats will be discussed at the next meeting on April 20.

Sathit Pitutecha, the committee chairman, said primary voting will be hotly debated among panel members as several find it will be problematic when implemented.

The Democrat Party deputy leader said the concept behind primary voting under the charter's Section 45 is public participation and there are several ways to ensure such participation in a political party's selection of election candidates.

He said committee members have to make sure proposed changes still reflect the charter's intention and can be implemented by parties.

Several parties reportedly want to cut steps involved in the candidature process to make it easier to field constituency candidates.

Mr Sathit expressed confidence that the scrutiny process will not be affected if Dr Rawee Matchamadol, leader of the New Palang Dharma Party, files a petition with the Constitutional Court seeking a ruling on the use of two ballots.

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