Parties buck EC poll pact
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Parties buck EC poll pact

UTN, PPRP won't sign conduct pledge

Kamphaeng Phet Road is lined with vote campaign posters. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)
Kamphaeng Phet Road is lined with vote campaign posters. (Photo: Nutthawat Wicheanbut)

The ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) and the United Thai Nation Party (UTN) have turned down a pact that lays down the protocol for politicians to follow during campaigning and includes promises they are supposed to honour after the general election.

Representatives of 30 parties yesterday signed the pact at Centra by Centara Hotel Government Complex Hotel and Convention Centre on Chaeng Watthana Road in Bangkok.

However, representatives of the PPRP and UTN did not show up. The event was organised by the Election Commission (EC), in collaboration with the Associate for Democratic Constitution and the civic network.

Paiboon Nititawan, deputy leader of the PPRP, said the party did not send anyone to the event because signing the pact may violate Section 28 of the Political Parties Act.

The section prohibits a party from letting an outsider control, influence or guide its activities in a way that affects the independence of the party and its members.

Witthaya Kaewparadai, a key figure of the UTN, could not be reached for comment.

EC secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee said the signing of the pact shows parties have agreed to ensure the May 14 election will be fair and free of fraud.

This also provides the basis for the civic sector to monitor the election, which is in line with the EC's opinion that democracy is a participatory process, he said.

The pact is divided into two parts -- one dealing with the protocol for politicians during campaigns and the other dealing with the promises that politicians are required to honour after the election.

Under the protocol, the EC will be required to treat all parties and candidates equally without discrimination. Parties that signed the pact must respect the decision of voters and campaign in line with the agreed protocol.

They must respect and obey the constitution, the law on the election of MPs, the law on parties, and regulations issued by the EC.

They must also refrain from direct or indirect poll fraud and vote-buying as well as from using state resources and mechanisms to benefit their campaigns and woo voters.

Under the protocol, they must campaign constructively and peacefully while taking into account gender diversity and sensitivities, avoid making threats and intimidating others, denounce the use of violence, and refrain from disrupting other parties' campaigns.

They must not support any action that incites hatred and violence, defamation, abusive language, actions that devalue others, and the spread of fake news or false information for political gain.

They must uphold the credibility of parties by presenting policies that come from the input of members and the public, and parties must be responsible for those policies. Regarding the promises parties must honour, they can form a government only when they gather the support of more than half the MPs in the House. They cannot do so if they have the support of less than that.

When they form a government, they must bring policies from all parties together, unify them, and put them into action.

Parties must work together on holding a referendum for the public to decide whether a new constitution should be drawn up by a charter-drafting assembly elected by the people. They must support the peace process in the deep South as a national agenda item in line with the constitution.

They must pursue a policy for decentralisation to allow local organisations and communities more say in local issues and ensure sufficient funding and personnel are allocated to local agencies.

Parties must also promote human rights and reduce social and economic inequality.

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