The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) will not rush to complete the organic bill governing the election of members of parliament, CDC spokesman Udom Rathamarit says.
He also said the CDC will work on drawing up the 10 organic bills within 240 days as allowed by the new constitution.
Critics see his remarks as a veiled attempt by the CDC to spend the maximum of 240 days allowed, which could delay the general election until next year, despite the government's stated intention to hold the poll late this year.
This is despite the fact Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stressed on Wednesday that the roadmap for holding the general election expected later this year will not be delayed.
Of the 10 organic bills, three are essential to holding the elections and must be finished first to pave the way for the election -- a bill governing the election of members of parliament, one on political parties and one on the Election Commission (EC).
The bills on parties and the Election Commission are to be completed first before the law governing the election of MPs will be drafted.
Mr Udom said Thursday C will not hurry to deliberate the bill on the election of MPs.
He said the CDC will bide its time until parties can adjust to the new rules under the organic bill governing their make-up.
Parties will be given 180 days to adjust to the new demands, he said. One rule stipulates that parties with less than 500 members must recruit members to meet the 500-membership threshold requirement within 180 days.
According to the EC's data, between April-June, 2015, a total of 73 parties were active. Of them, 20 parties had less than 500 members as the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) had imposed restrictions on party activities.
In light of this, the CDC has decided to include in the organic bill on the election of MPs a clause that gives those parties 180 days to recruit 500 members so as to retain their party status.
Mr Udom added the EC also needs time to familiarise itself with new rules under the organic bill governing the poll organising body.
He said the CDC will draw up the 10 organic bills within 240 days as allowed by the new constitution, while adding the CDC's work would not exceed the specified timeframe.
However, Mr Udom said while the CDC is trying to follow the government's roadmap for holding the general election late his year, a major royal event that is to take place late this year must also be taken into account.
He referred to the royal cremation of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej which will be held late this year.
Under the new constitution, the CDC has 240 days to finish the organic bills and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) will have 60 days to deliberate and endorse the bills, while the general election must be held within 150 days of the organic law on the election of MPs coming into force.
Responding to the CDC spokesman, Samart Kaewmeechai, a former Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, said the CDC has no reason to spend the maximum of 240 days drawing up the organic laws.
The new charter says the organic bills must be completed "within" 240 days, which means the CDC can finish them ahead of the 240-day time frame, Mr Samart said.
In particular, the CDC should speed up the key bills related to the election of MPs so the election can be held late this year under the government's roadmap, Mr Samart said.
The CDC can now begin working on the organic bills in advance.
When the new charter is royally endorsed and promulgated, the CDC can submit the organic laws to the NLA straightaway, he said.
"Why should the CDC need such a lot of time? It can speed things up if it wants to do so. But the CDC seems to be stalling for time. Mr Udom should not say anything that ambiguous and vague," Mr Samart said.
Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said he thought the roadmap for holding the election was still on course.
If the new constitution comes into force next month, the 240-day time frame for the CDC to draw up the organic laws will follow.
Combined with various other factors, this means the election is likely to take place next year anyway.
"This is nothing new," Mr Abhisit said.
Noppadon Inthapanya, an NLA whip, yesterday assured the roadmap for holding the election late this year as promised by Prime Minister Prayut remains unchanged. As soon as the CDC submits the organic laws to the NLA, the assembly will try to push through the bills in a timely manner, Gen Noppadon said.