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Only junta backers can benefit from revised political party law

Thailand (The Nation) -- Since the political party organic law was promulgated in October, all politicians have been closing in on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), calling on it to unleash them from political restraint.

Former People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban.

But given the recent move by the junta allies – former People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban and former member of the nowdefunct National Reform Council Paiboon Nititawan – the unleashing they are getting could go beyond the political ban issue, and with dramatic impact. Two months after the political party law came into effect, Paiboon last week, almost out of the blue, appealed to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) to consider revising the law in order to deregister all members of all parties so that old and new parties could similarly and fairly start over from scratch in the runup to the election.
The law states that existing party members could be exempted from paying membership fees for four years while new parties would have to collect at least Bt1,000 from each new member. That, according to Paiboon, was not fair.
A day after the card was played, Suthep, in a rare move, came out and voiced that to be fair with old and new parties alike, the political party organic law should be revised to fit with the current circumstance and to ensure political parties could exactly practise the law. Although he was not specific about the revision, the remark seemed to back and give more weight to Paiboon’s call.
It could be just a coincidence that two former leaders of the movement that paved the way for the 2014 coup came out around the same time to call for the organic law, already promulgated, to be amended to ensure fairness among parties. But if the regime really takes up the matter, interest will all be aligned to the NCPO’s side.
For one thing, if the promulgated law were to be amended, the process would take several months at least to complete. And given that it is one of the four organic laws necessary for the holding of an election, a vote delay could be expected as a consequence. This was not to mention how the law associated with it – the MPs election organic law – will also need to be revised accordingly, hence prolonging the process as well as the rule of the current regime.
But on top of that, the revision could also have subtle effect on political polarisation both in the domestic and interparty levels.
By nullifying existing members of all parties as Paiboon proposes, party members and politicians would all be unleashed and become independent.


(Latest Update
December 18,
2017)


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