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Politics will erupt in April, says commissioner

Dec 27. 2017
Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn
Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn
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By The Nation

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Election Commissioner Somchai Srisutthiyakorn has predicted a “big ripple” in politics in April next year as the deadline to update party members begins.

Junta chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha last Friday exercised his absolute power under Article 44 to issue and order to extend some deadlines in the Political Party Act for parties to follow. 

The order gives party members only one month to decide whether they will stay with their current party or review their political allegiance. Those wishing to maintain their party memberships must submit letters to confirm that choice to party leaders and pay their membership fees between April 1 and April 30 next year, or they will lose their status. 

Somchai said on Wednesday that parties that have high number of members would do everything to get all members to confirm their status. 

The number of people who pay a party-membership fee will also determine the subsidy each party will get from the party development fund, he said. 

The junta has said that the order is aimed at preventing voters from becoming members of more than one party, but Somchai insisted that there could be no duplication in party member lists because his agency’s database was able to detect that.

He added that the EC had cooperated with the Interior Ministry’s Office of Civil Registration to update information on Thai citizens and gave copies of that information to all political parties to update their members’ database.

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