Wednesday, September 30, 2020

MP bill committee bans election campaign entertainment

Feb 19. 2018
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By The Nation

THE JOINT committee reviewing the contentious MP election bill agreed unanimously in its first meeting to ban any form of entertainment during election campaigns.

The development was announced yesterday by Supachai Somcharoen, head of the Election Commission (EC) and a member of the joint law-review committee.

The committee remained uncertain about whether to adjust a clause that would bar anyone who failed to exercise their voting rights from becoming a political office holder, he said. 

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) previously had overturned the original draft written by the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) and allowed entertainment in campaigning, on the grounds that amusement could encourage political participation.

However, the CDC viewed the provision as increasing the odds of vote buying.

The clause is one of several that have been fiercely debated by the NLA, CDC and EC. Their disagreement led to the establishment of the joint committee to review the bill despite its passage by the NLA in three readings.

Supachai said the committee would meet again today to discuss other controversial clauses. 

The NLA appeared to have no problem with the latest revision, he said, adding that members were willing to listen to the CDC’s reasons.

While disagreement over the bill appeared to indicate conflict among legislators, Supachai said the NLA, CDC and the EC remained in “harmony” and were rational in their deliberations.

The joint committee reportedly will convene every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. They have until the end of the month to complete the revisions before presenting them to the NLA for endorsement.

The MP election bill is among the four organic bills necessary for the holding of an election. It is also one of the final two bills the CDC submitted to the NLA. 

The other, the Senate selection bill, was equally contentious and is currently being reviewed by another joint committee.

 

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