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Joint committee in deadlock on primary voting system

Jul 31. 2017
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By Kasamakorn Chanwanpen
The Nation

The joint committee reviewing the organic law on regulations of political parties had not settled on the revision of the controversial primary voting system but expected the bill could enter the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) this Thursday.

The bill is the second of 10 bills to be written to accompany the new Constitution, which has passed the NLA.

However, the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) which had been responsible for writing the original draft objected to some clauses related to the primary voting system. They were concerned that the clauses violated the intent of the Constitution.

The CDC argued that the full version of the sections dealing with internal election of political party candidates could be unconstitutional for at least five reasons. Among them were questions of transparency, which could pave way for possible fraud, and the difficulties posed in the event that local branches of parties could not meet the requirement for 50 members to be present to determine and field a constituency candidate, which could violate a basic political right supported by the charter.

Udom Rathamarit, the, CDC spokesman, said Monday that the joint committee, composed of members of the CDC, NLA, and Electoral Commission, had only agreed on one point, which was to allow the leader of a party to run as a constituency candidate.

Other controversial clauses, he said, were sent back to the CDC for reconsideration. The joint committee would convene again Tuesday to try to reach mutual agreement on those controversial points, he said.

They hoped to table the bill in the NLA meeting this Thursday, Udom said, after being granted 15 days to make the clauses align with the Constitution.

If two-thirds of members of the NLA at the meeting voted down the revised draft, the version passed last month would be submitted to the Cabinet.

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