Rival parties unite in bid to fight order

Rival parties unite in bid to fight order

In a rare sign of unity, the Pheu Thai and Democrat parties are working toward a common goal -- filing a complaint against a regime order to alter the organic law on political parties.

The Pheu Thai Party yesterday said the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) move was an attempt to gain an advantage politically and violated good governance.

It plans to submit the case to the Constitutional Court.

The party's caretaker secretary-general, Phumtham Wechayachai, said the NCPO chief's order affects political parties and their members severely.

"The Pheu Thai Party sees that the order issued by the NCPO leader goes against the constitution, and is unrighteous. It is a blatant use of authority without respect to the constitution and the law; aims to destroy the party system and the rights and freedoms of their members; adds an unnecessary burden to party members; and paves the way for the setting up of parties that support the NCPO and its leader so it can hold on to power," the party said.

NCPO chief Prayut Chan-o-cha's order on Dec 22 postponed the deadline for parties to update their membership database from Jan 5, with members now required to confirm membership and pay membership fees from April 1-30, or lose that membership.

Meanwhile, new parties can register from March 1, according to the order. A party's meeting in preparation for the matter needs NCPO permission in advance, according to the order.

Gen Prayut earlier issued orders that prohibit political parties' activities and political gatherings of five or more people.

In the latest order, such obstacles to the election will be lifted only after the organic bill on MP elections is passed.

A provision of the constitution requires that organic laws on the Election Commission, on parties, on the selection of senators and on MP elections be passed before an election can take place.

Meanwhile, an election must be held within 150 days of the organic laws being completed.

The last two organic laws, on MP election and senator selection, are being considered by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA).

Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said the party's legal experts are studying if any part of the NCPO chief's order is against the constitution.

The party could ultimately file a complaint with the Constitutional Court, with a decision likely over New Year.

He said new parties have complained as the NCPO has not lifted its ban on political activities even as it imposes the new burdens.

"This order of the NCPO is not unlocking but adding more locks as the time frame will be delayed for three months and it will be problematic for new parties," he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon yesterday insisted the election would not be postponed.

"There has been no discussion on this matter [postponement of the election]," he said.

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