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Political party fundraising still banned: EC

Oct 12. 2018
File photo: Gen Prawit Wongsuwan
File photo: Gen Prawit Wongsuwan
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By The Nation

Political parties formed under the new law are allowed to collect only seed funding from founding members and membership fees from all members, the Election Commission (EC) and junta leader Gen Prawit Wongsuwan reaffirmed on Friday, following the Future Forward Party (FWP) controversy.

The EC's deputy secretary-general Sawang Boonmee reiterated yesterday that fundraising was a political activity still banned by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) despite the latest relaxation.

He explained that party’s may have four major sources of income - seed capital, donations, raised fund, and membership fees.

Seed capital is money raised only from founding members, he said. Only parties formed under the old law may take their existing money from membership fees or donations as seed capital.

The membership fee is collected only from members, he added.

These are only two sources of income allowed, according to junta orders.

Fundraising and donation campaigns require the junta’s permission to be conducted, the EC said.

Prawit also said on Friday that parties should first seek permission with the NCPO.

However, he said it was up to the EC to decide on political matters and the NCPO was only in charge of keeping peace and order.

Meanwhile, Deputy prime minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said that the NCPO did not specifically ban donations to political parties or fundraising. But it was up to the EC to draw the line, he said.

The FWP raised more than Bt20 million from membership fees, donations, and fundraising through souvenir selling since last weekend when they for the first time opened membership applications.

Controversy was sparked after the EC red flagged the activities, saying fundraising and getting donations violated the political ban.

The party, however, argued new parties could not possibly have sufficient funds to run in the election if such activities were banned.

The move also raised a question if the agency’s discrimination against anti-junta parties.

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