Pheu Thai and Democrats: New EC rules vague

Pheu Thai and Democrats: New EC rules vague

Vague regulations may lead to abuse and benefit self-serving parties, Pheu Thai warns

The term of the current government runs until March 23 but some parties fear even more confusion over campaign rules if Parliament is dissolved before then. (File photo)
The term of the current government runs until March 23 but some parties fear even more confusion over campaign rules if Parliament is dissolved before then. (File photo)

Politicians are scratching their heads about what they can and can’t do in the run-up to the next election, with a senior opposition figure calling the new rules announced by the Election Commission (EC) vague and confusing.

Sutin Klungsang, opposition whip and deputy leader of the Pheu Thai Party, said on Saturday that the regulations published in the Royal Gazette on restricted campaign activities were lacking in detail, open to conflicting interpretations and could cause uncertainty when put into practice.

The EC has set May 7, 2023 as the tentative election date, based on the assumption that the current coalition government will see out its full term that runs until March 23. On Tuesday it also published a detailed timetable of key dates leading up to polling day.

Mr Sutin said it was unclear how the rules would apply in the event Parliament is dissolved before its term is up. He also pointed out that no definite dimensions were set for campaign posters, leaving an opening for interference between candidates.

All MPs want to comply with the rules, but ambiguity may create opportunities for self-serving action, he added.

The Pheu Thai member suggested the commission organise a seminar for political parties where it could explain the election rules and field any questions.

Democrat Party leader Jurin Laksanawisit voiced similar concerns, saying many parties have already started taking down their campaign posters for fear of violating the regulations.

Although the EC has the authority to enforce election rules, clarity is needed so that parties intent on compliance can act accordingly, he said on Saturday.

Mr Jurin, who is also deputy prime minister and commerce minister, said he has instructed his party members to study the new regulations and ensure appropriate conduct.

Unlike in past elections when 30 to 40 days were given over to campaigning, the new election law stipulates a 180-day pre-election period during which numerous regulations apply. These govern everything from flood relief donations to campaign posters.


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