Court 'won't force' PM's hand

Court 'won't force' PM's hand

Poll ruling 'irrelevant' to House dissolution

Wissanu: Rules out Nov 30
Wissanu: Rules out Nov 30

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam gave his assurance on Wednesday there is no reason for the prime minister to dissolve the House on Nov 30 or after, no matter how the Constitutional Court rules on an organic law on the elections of MPs.

The court will rule next Wednesday on the constitutionality of the bill which governs the elections of MPs. One of the most contentious points is whether the bill is in conflict with Section 93 of the charter, which governs how party-list MPs are decided.

Mr Wissanu said the court's ruling on Nov 30 has nothing to do with whether or not the prime minister will dissolve the House.

He also guaranteed the premier will not call the House dissolution on Nov 30 because he has several engagements on that day.

When asked if the House dissolution could take place later, Mr Wissanu said: "You should come back and ask me again after that. But I can assure you it isn't happening on Nov 30.

"If the court rules that the bill isn't against the charter, why bother to dissolve the House? And even if the court says the bill is unconstitutional, what does a House dissolution lead to? There simply isn't a reason to do so (dissolve the House)," he said.

Mr Wissanu's remarks came as the Constitutional Court ruled unanimously on Wednesday that another organic bill on political parties does not contravene the charter.

The contentious points in that bill deal with membership fees of political parties, the qualifications of party members and the candidate selection process known as primary voting.

The organic bill seeks to lower the annual membership fee from 100 baht to 20 baht and the lifelong membership fee from 2,000 baht to 200 baht.

This is seen by critics as opening the way for investors to dominate political parties.

On the qualifications of party members, the bill proposes that people charged with fraud, drug offences, gambling, human trafficking or money laundering can apply as long as they have not served any time locked up in prison.

As for primary voting, the bill seeks to allow provincial committees of a party to nominate election candidates, a process which is currently carried out by a constituency-level panel.

The proposed change was thought to contravene the charter's principle promoting wider public participation in the candidate selection process.

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