Pheu Thai challenges Prayut's order for political parties

Pheu Thai challenges Prayut's order for political parties

Rueangkrai Leekitwatana of the Pheu Thai Party is seen in a picture taken in April. On Wednesday he asked the Constitutional Court to nullify the NCPO's order for political parties to verify their memberships. (File photo)
Rueangkrai Leekitwatana of the Pheu Thai Party is seen in a picture taken in April. On Wednesday he asked the Constitutional Court to nullify the NCPO's order for political parties to verify their memberships. (File photo)

The Pheu Thai Party on Wednesday asked the Constitutional Court to nullify Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's order on the verification of political party members, saying it was unconstitutional.

Ruengkrai Leekitwatana, a legal affairs officer of the country's biggest political party, filed the request at the Office of the Constitutional Court, asking it to revoke order number 53/2560 issued by Gen Prayut in his capacity as the chief of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Gen Prayut issued the order last Friday by using the powerful Section 44 under the previous interim constitution. The order requires members of old political parties to send written confirmation of their membership to their party leaders and pay party fees within 30 days of April 1 next year, when the NCPO's ban on the activities of existing political parties will start being lifted.

In the order, Gen Prayut wrote that the confirmation process would guarantee that political parties had genuine grass-roots support and that party members had joined voluntarily. The order was also intended to prevent duplicated memberships among different parties.

Mr Ruengkrai said on Wednesday that the order placed burdens on existing political parties and their members, and the constitution prohibited an outsider from issuing orders to a political party. Besides, he said, the NCPO chief issued the order without consulting members of political parties.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Wednesday that the Section 44 order did not favour new political parties, which would be allowed to start their political activities only one month before old parties.

"It does not force all political parties to start over because old political parties and their executives are already in place," Gen Prawit said.

He denied that the order would lead to the postponement of the next general election.


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