The Constitutional Court has ruled that the organic bill on political parties does not contravene the constitution.
The ruling, made on Wednesday, was unanimous with all nine members of the Constitutional Court voting in favour of the bill.
On Aug 29, a petition signed by 77 senators was submitted to the Constitutional Court, asking it to rule whether the bill contravenes the charter. On Sept 21, the court accepted it for consideration.
In the petition, the court was asked whether or not Sections 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and 10 of the organic bill on political parties were contrary to Sections 45, 83, 86, 90, 91 and 258 of the constitution.
The points of contention concerned the reduction of the annual party membership fee from 100 baht to 20 baht and life membership fee from 2,000 baht to no more than 200 baht. The petitioners feared the reduction of membership fees could allow certain business tycoons to pay the fees for party members and consequently dominate the party.
Moreover, the petition said, the bill had been modified to allow individuals who had served prison time to also be eligible for membership. The pre-scrutiny version of the bill excluded those with a criminal record from joining a party.
The next step is for the Constitutional Court to inform the parliament president of the ruling. The parliament president will then hand the bill to the prime minister to further forward it to His Majesty the King for royal approval.
- Petition on MPs -
The Constitutional Court has also accepted for consideration a petition against the bill on the election of MPs. The petition was backed by 105 MPs and senators. The court was asked to rule whether the proposed use of the number 100 to calculate the number of party-list MPs in the coming general election is constitutional.
Small parties opposed the 100 divisor, the number of party-list seats, preferring instead the use of 500 for the calculation, the total number of MPs. They believed 500 as a divisor would give them a better chance of winning list seats.
The Constitution Court has set Nov 30 to announce its ruling.