CDC: 5 laws must change ahead of polls
Five laws relating to regional governing bodies need to be amended before local elections can take place, according to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).
CDC spokesman Chartchai Na Chiang Mai said Sunday that if early local polls are to be held, it is essential to amend the five laws to ensure compliance with the new constitution's provisions covering local administration organisations.
Amendments are needed for newly-elected local bodies to work in line with the new charter provisions. Otherwise, they could face allegations of violating the constitution, Mr Chartchai said, adding the CDC is likely to meet today to straighten out the issue.
He said it is up to the government to decide when it will give the green light for local elections to go ahead.
Holding early elections and amending the law to accommodate local polls must be a policy from the government, Mr Chartchai said.
The first law is on the establishment of local administration organisations which cover tambon administration organisations, municipalities, provincial administration organisations and special local administrative units such as Pattaya and the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA).
The other laws involve plans and procedures for delegating power to local governing bodies, local personnel administration, local revenue collection as well as elections of local administration organisations, Mr Charthcai said.
The task of amending the five laws will rest with the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), which must race against time if the government wants to pave the way for local elections, Mr Chartchai said.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam has previously hinted the ban on political activities could be partially lifted to allow local elections to take place. However, he stressed that polls would be limited to certain areas only. There are several types of local administration organisations. They include the BMA, municipalities and tambon administration organisations.
Mr Wissanu said elections could not be held immediately, noting that laws governing local polls would have to be amended to meet stricter requirements under the new charter.
The government is under increasing pressure to lift the ban on political activities following the enactment of the organic law on political parties last month.
Jate Siratharanont, a spokesman for the NLA whip, gave an assurance that if the assembly is to amend the five laws relating to local bodies, this will not delay the NLA's deliberation of the last two organic bills -- one on the election of MPs and the other on the Senate -- which are expected to be tabled to the NLA late this month.
Somsak Prisananathakul, a core Chartthaipattana Party member, agreed the ban on political activities should be partially lifted to allow local polls to take place.
Residents should now be given an opportunity to elect new representatives as the tenures of several local administration organisations have already expired, Mr Somsak said.
Since seizing power in May 2014, the National Council for Peace and Order has prohibited political activities and suspended all local elections with vacant seats being filled by a selection process.