LAO draft laws heading to cabinet

LAO draft laws heading to cabinet

PM denies Interior reshuffle 'political'

Six local administrative organisation (LAO) draft laws are likely to be submitted to the cabinet for consideration later this month, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam says.

The Council of State's panel tasked with amending the six pieces of legislation has completed its job and forwarded the documents to the Cabinet Secretariat, he said.

The amendments to the six LAO laws are necessary to ensure the election rules including qualifications of candidates in local polls are in line with the new constitution.

There are several types of polls related to the councils and executives of the local agencies such as provincial administrative organisations, tambon administrative organisations and thessaban municipalities.

According to the deputy premier, the amendment drafts are expected to be tabled to the cabinet for examination on Aug 28. Once cleared by the cabinet, the draft laws will be sent to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) for scrutiny.

Mr Wissanu also rejected reports that the election of district councillors had been cancelled, saying he reviewed the draft law governing the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) and the district council poll remained intact.

He said it is too early to predict if the local polls will take place before or after the general election and it is one of the issues the government will have to raise with the new members of the Election Commission (EC).

He said the NLA's scrutiny of the six draft laws is expected to take about three months and the bills require royal endorsement to take effect -- a process which can take up to 90 days, he said.

"If this is the case, local elections may overlap with the general election. The national polls will take place first," he said.

Earlier, political observers expected local polls to take place in May of next year after the general election in February. Their speculation was based on the scrutiny of the local election-related draft laws and a loose timetable provided by the former EC.

In another development, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday the reshuffle of senior officials at the Interior Ministry was not politically motivated.

The cabinet on Tuesday approved the transfer of 18 senior interior officials proposed by Interior Minister Anupong Paojinda, effective from Oct 1.

Gen Prayut said the reshuffle process which mainly involved provincial governors was reviewed by a committee, not by the cabinet ministers in charge.

He said the transfer was carried out to ensure work efficiency and appropriateness.

The prime minister said the shake-up of senior officials had nothing to do with politics or the political situation as the media has tried to suggest.

A source close to the Interior Ministry said yesterday the transfers were likely to help the regime push ahead with its work and policies.

The appointment of Prayoon Ratanasenee as the Land Department chief, and that of Nisit Chansomwong as the Community Development Department head have been widely seen as work-related because the two officials have expertise in those fields.

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