Political parties law comes into effect

Political parties law comes into effect

The constitution's 2017 organic law on political parties has come into effect after it was royally endorsed and published in the Royal Gazette on Saturday.

The 2017 Constitutional Act on Political Parties, which was endorsed by His Majesty the King on Sept 30, consists of 152 sections.

Among the core sections is one requiring a political party to have at least 1 million baht in initial registered capital and all founders of the party to each contribute at least 1,000 baht, but no more than 50,000 baht per person, into the initial fund.

Prior to the submission of a request for the registration of a new party, a quorum of at least 250 of the founders and co-founders is required and a formal meeting must be held, according to the law.

Within one year of a party's registration, it has to have obtained at least 5,000 members, and after four years it must have 10,000 members.

The registered party is also obliged to set up at least one branch in every region and each branch is required to have at least 500 party members.

To be eligible to field a candidate in a general election, the party is must already have established a provincial branch or representative in the province where they wish to contest a seat.

As for the selection of election candidates in the party-list system, the party is required to ensure equal treatment for potential candidates from outside Bangkok and also conform to the gender equality laws. The party leader must be the No.1 candidate on the list.

Party benefactors are limited to donations of 10 million baht per person per year.

Penalties for violating the new law range from a fine to the political party being disbanded.

In a transitory provision regarding those political parties established before the law takes effect, parties that have fewer than 500 members are required to obtain the minimum number within 180 days.

They also are required under the law to comply with the 1 million baht minimum party funding stipulation within 180 days as well.

These parties are also required to have at least 5,000 paying members within one year and at least 10,000 paying members within four years.

And although these parties are obliged to organise a general assembly, set up branches and appoint provincial representatives within 180 days, they are allowed to petition for this deadline to be extended for up to three years, during which time they will have any subsidies for political parties they receive suspended.

In the first general election after this new organic law, any political parties that already have the required branches and representatives will be allowed to field candidates in the election.

There will be a minimum party membership fee of 50 baht per person during the first year.

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