Wednesday, July 08, 2020

‘No more excuses’

Jan 22. 2016
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By Kasamakorn Chanwanpen
The Nat

The Constitution Drafting Commission on Friday resolved to extend the vote-casting time for elections by two more hours in a bid to ensure every eligible voter casts a ballot and cannot use work as an excuse for not voting.
The polls would be open from 8am to 5pm. 
CDC drafters also agreed to abolish advance voting for elections because it was seen as a loophole that made electoral fraud possible. 
Voters, instead, will be encouraged to register for an absentee vote and vote at a polling station near their homes. 
The development came as the CDC reviews the complete draft article by article.
For election days, CDC has empowered the Election Commission with scheduling and rescheduling by-election dates.
Election dates and election date resets would be determined by the EC to avoid unnecessary difficulties, CDC spokesman Udom Rathamarit said. 
In the past, election dates were enforced through a royal decree, which made rescheduling difficult. The new stipulation would make it easier for EC to arrange elections, Udom said.
The CDC also resolved to bar people who have held positions at independent agencies or the Constitutional Court from contesting a Senate seat.
Previously, those people were eligible to run for the Senate if they had not been in a position at either of the two bodies for at least 10 years. 
Udom said senators who served under previous constitutions would be given the benefit of the doubt and could still run for the Upper House. 
But senators would not be eligible to run for the second term, he said.
The spokesman said the CDC also agreed that only the ordinary commission of the National Assembly could question people as part of fact-finding missions. 
This was a proposed change to the previous constitution, which empowered committees or subcommittees to do this. 
Udom said the drafters wanted to limit the incidents of malpractice in the fact-finding process. 
The drafters had previously decided the state financial discipline law would be organic but it would now come in the form of a normal bill and would issued under executive power by the next government post election. 
The drafters finished deliberating on at least 160 articles yesterday. 
Udom said they would probably start writing the transitory-provision chapters next Wednesday. 
He said the skeleton for this process had already been laid down by the CDC subcommittee responsible for writing the constitution.

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