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Petition of EC law to Constitutional Court won’t affect election call, says Deputy PM

Jul 21. 2017
EC Somchai.
EC Somchai.
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By The Nation

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Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Friday that the Election Commission’s petition to the Constitutional Court against the new NLA endorsed EC draft bill would affect the process of royal endorsement of the government’s final submission.

However, he added, it would be unlikely to affect the election roadmap. That’s because lawmakers have ensured sufficient time to enact the 10 organic laws required by the new charter, he said.

The EC is the first of the organic laws to pass through the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) and the tripartite law review committee. Prior to the EC’s decision to petition the Constitutional Court, the EC bill was close to promulgation, pending only a royal endorsement.

The EC, however, made a last ditch attempt to get a ruling on the law’s constitutionality. 

It said it would submit a petition to the court Friday.

There are some six points in the bill that the EC has objected to, including the total reset of the current EC. 

However, it has decided not petition the reset question to the court, as the optics of this could lead some people to conclude that it was fighting for the personal interests of EC members. Instead, said Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn on Thursday, it will petition the court over the constitutionality of two controversial points. 

The first concerns the removal of the EC’s authority to organise local elections. The second is the removal of the power of EC members to suspend elections if fraud is found. 

Somchai insisted that the petition would not derail the planned election as there is still plenty of time to revise the bill.

Wissanu did not confirm whether the NLA has yet forwarded the draft law to the Cabinet Secretariat or not. The government could hold the bill for up to five days before submitting it for royal endorsement.

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