CDC puts final touches on draft organic laws

CDC puts final touches on draft organic laws

Ong-art opposes plan for monks in politics

Meechai Ruchupan (on monitor screen and at head of table) and his Constitution Drafting Committee say they're almost finished with the organic laws, meaning they're almost finished with the new, improved constitution. (File photo)
Meechai Ruchupan (on monitor screen and at head of table) and his Constitution Drafting Committee say they're almost finished with the organic laws, meaning they're almost finished with the new, improved constitution. (File photo)

The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) expects to finalise the draft organic law on political parties this week as it hopes to push the bill through to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).

CDC spokesman Udom Rathamarit said the CDC was putting the final touches on the draft law as its major principles have already been settled.

Work on the draft should be finalised this week, Mr Udom said, adding the draft organic law on the Election Commission (EC) should also be ready shortly.

Once the two draft laws are finalised, they will be forwarded to the NLA for consideration. If the NLA approves the draft laws, political parties and the EC can start preparations for the next general election, the CDC spokesman said.

Kanin Boonsuwan, a member of the Pheu Thai Party's legal team, criticised a proposed provision of the draft organic law on political parties which deals with parties' membership registration.

He said the provision was unfair to major parties and was an attempt to thwart them.

Under the proposed clause, parties are required to register their party members and hand the registration list to the EC chairman, who serves as the registrar of parties, within 90 days of the approval of the draft law.

This would pose a problem for existing major parties which have hundreds of thousands of members nationwide.

It would be nearly impossible to check and verify details of each member within the given timeframe, Mr Kanin said.

Under the military regime's rule, parties have not been allowed to hold any political activities. "The 90-day timeframe would be a trap for parties," Mr Kanin said.

On the contrary, the proposal would benefit small parties which only have a few thousand members, he said.

It would also give an advantage to those who want to set up new parties because the membership requirement to set up new parties under the draft organic law on parties is set at 500 members while the previous law required 5,000 members.

Meanwhile, Deputy Democrat Party leader Ong-art Klampaiboon said he disagreed with a proposal allowing Buddhist monks to become members of political parties.

The idea was proposed by a CDC subcommittee gathering feedback on the draft charter, Mr Paiboon said.

Monks are held in high regard in society and it would be inappropriate for them to get involved in politics as this would cause people to lose respect for them, he said.

This was a sensitive issue and the subcommittee should think about it carefully before submitting the proposal to the CDC, Mr Paiboon said.

Suriyasai Katasila, deputy dean of Rangsit University's College of Social Innovation, said Sunday the draft organic law on parties should be designed in a way to ensure that ownership of parties is handed over to the public.

"A political party should not be a family heirloom that is owned by politicians," he said.

A party must serve as a political institution which is up to the task of developing democracy and solving political crises, said Mr Suriyasai, also the director of the Thai Reform Institute.


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