Wissanu, agencies to begin poll talks

Wissanu, agencies to begin poll talks

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam (left) and junta-appointed constitution writer Meechai Ruchupan will meet Thursday with the Election Commission.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam (left) and junta-appointed constitution writer Meechai Ruchupan will meet Thursday with the Election Commission.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam will meet the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) and the Election Commission (EC) Thursday evening to discuss preparations for the general election.

The meeting will be held at Government House, Meechai Ruchupan, chairman of the CDC, told the press Tuesday.

However, Mr Meechai said that an agenda for the talks has not yet been set.

Mr Meechai said the EC will specify the date from when, legally, an election can be held. The poll organising agency, he said, has details related to the election timeline, demarcation of constituency boundaries and the primary vote.

Asked about parties' calls for the lifting of the political ban so they can explain to the public the primary vote, which is being introduced for the first time under the new constitution, Mr Meechai said parties can already do so by sending the information electronically.

Meanwhile, National Legislative Assembly president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said Tuesday he had sent the organic bill on the election of MPs to the prime minister to be forwarded for royal approval.

Mr Pornpetch said he forwarded the bill on Friday after receiving the official ruling from the Constitutional Court on its legality.

The next step was for Gen Prayut to submit the bill to His Majesty the King for approval, he said, adding that he expected a general election in February next year.

Everything will happen next year as set out in the roadmap, Mr Pornpetch said, referring to the premier's earlier statement regarding a poll next February.

On May 30, the Constitutional Court ruled that two sections in the MP election bill did not violate the constitution.

The bill sailed through the NLA in March, but 27 members petitioned the charter court to examine it after Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha questioned the bill's constitutionality and if it might cause problems later on if its legal standing remained unclear -- a move sceptics saw as a ploy to further delay the general election.

The main concerns cited were Section 35 that bars anyone who previously failed to vote in a national election without due cause from being appointed as a political office-holder, and Section 92 that allows election staff or others to help disabled people cast their vote.

The bill on the election of MPs is the last of the 10 organic laws required by the constitution to be promulgated before an election can take place.

After it is published in the Royal Gazette, it comes into effect 90 days later. The constitution then requires an election within 150 days of that date.


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