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Heated exchange as EC refuses to present its version of organic law to CDC

Nov 16. 2016
File photo: EC commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn.
File photo: EC commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn.
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By Kasamakorn Chanwanpen
The Nation

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A Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) seminar Wednesday meant to solicit public opinions became heated as Election Commission (EC) members refused to present their version of a new organic law governing the composition and functioning of the commission, saying their draft was nothing like the version the CDC was advocating.

EC commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn, who was apparently unhappy with the CDC’s work, said the CDC should present its organic law because they had written a version different from that which the EC had proposed.

He criticised the law, especially a point regarding the dissolution of provincial election commissions, as unsatisfactory and impractical before adding that everyone should address issues openly without showing undue reticence.

Somchai said everyone was free to comment if the EC acted inappropriately, adding that people should help to propose new ideas if the CDC had done a poor job in writing the law.

“It is not necessary that a person will write a good law just because he has written many laws or has a lot of experience,” Somchai said.

Charter writer Chartchai Na Chiangmai, who acted as a moderator at the seminar, insisted that the EC should present the organic law so other attendees could make comments.

In a testy exchange, Somchai responded: “Let’s be honest here. The CDC’s version is very different from the EC’s. What’s the point of presenting it when it is not the one [that will be implemented]. It will only lead today’s discussion in the wrong direction. The CDC should present its version so that people, including myself, can comment on it.”

Chartchai then agreed to let the EC skip its presentation, but in turn the CDC also refused to present a version of the organic law. He added that the organic law had not been finalised, so it was inaccurate to say that it was the “CDC’s version”.

The EC has expressed dissatisfaction regarding the proposed organic law that would govern the commission’s affairs after charter drafters said that some EC members might have to leave office if they are disqualified under the new rules.

After speculation that Somchai might be upset by possible disqualification, he dismissed the idea yesterday, saying he had proof that he had worked in relevant fields for more than 20 years and therefore could not be disqualified.

However, he added that the disqualification of any current members of independent agencies under the new laws would be unfair.

“Some have quit jobs to take the position because they were qualified. Now, they have to be disqualified. Is that fair?” Somchai said.

He added that the proposal to disband the provincial commissions, which would be replaced during elections with officials who would hold their posts temporarily, was unrealistic and would incur unnecessary expenses for the state budget.


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