Meechai confirms election early next year at the latest

Meechai confirms election early next year at the latest

Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan has confirmed that if everything goes as planned a general election will be held late this year or early next year at the latest.

Mr Meechai said on Monday the CDC was duty-bound to finish the drafting of organic laws in 240 days as stipulated in the draft constitution, which was passed by public referendum. 

Once the constitution took effect, the first thing the CDC would do was to send the bills on political parties and the Election Commission (EC) to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) for deliberation.

The CDC would submit the draft legislation on elections and the selection of MPs and senators to the NLA afterwards. It had to know first whether the NLA would alter the bills on political parties and the EC, and when the legislative process would be completed.

Mr Meechai said this was necessary because all four organic laws were closely related and must be compatible.

Asked whether drafting of all four bills would be finished within the 240 days, Mr Meechai said this rested on whether political parties and the EC were able to adapt to the new laws.  There would be problems if political parties were not ready and or able to field candidates in an election, he added.

Asked what if the NLA rejected the draft organic laws, Mr Meechai said it would be the duty of the CDC to submit new bills, until they were passed by the NLA.

"But I think this will not happen.  If it were to happen, the CDC would have to finish each of the rewritten bills in 10-15 days after being notified. I can assure you the CDC does not think its draft legislation untouchable,"  Mr Meechai said.

Asked if it were possible the election road map would be postponed because of some external factors, Mr Meechai said the government would have to handle them, if any. The CDC would do the best on its part, he added.

The CDC chairman confirmed that, barring unforeseen problems, a general election would be held late this year, or early next year at the latest.

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