Wednesday, November 13, 2019

NLA president denies people’s rights violated as parties challenge PM’s order

Dec 28. 2017
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By THE NATION

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NATIONAl Legislative Assembly (NLA) President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said yesterday the recent use of the absolute powers of Article 44 to amend the Political Party Act did not violate people’s rights as has been claimed by political parties.

Pornpetch said political parties could petition the Constitutional Court if they believed that the order violated the rights addressed under Article 26 of the charter. 

Pheu Thai Party on Wednesday filed a petition to nullify the order by junta chief Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-Cha, and the Democrat Party has said it would submit a similar petition. 

However, the charter itself has a provisional chapter allowing continued use of Article 44, Pornpetch said. He declined to comment whether the use of Article 44 to amend the law contradicted the rule of law. 

He said the law, if it had flaws, needed to be amended but that would take time as it would require NLA public hearings under Article 77 of the charter, Pornpetch said, rejecting the notion that the country was being run under one person’s orders. 

“No, it’s not like that. Power has been shared to concerned agencies and we perform following the authority we have been given,” said Pornpetch.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai posted on Facebook yesterday, asking people in power when they would return power to the people.

He also raised five critical questions, asking whether or not they viewed democracy as being based on their discretion and judgement or as instead connected to the rule of law.

Phumtham also questioned whether it was legal to use power without limits through the use of Article 44 when there was a charter in place as the country’s supreme law.

Phumtham added that the junta government had previously asked people to wait “not too long” for a return to democracy. 

The military government had been engineering new structures to govern society while filling vacancies with people whose qualifications for the jobs were questionable, he wrote, asking whether that was advancing the junta and its own goals rather than those of the country.

What the junta was doing, he said, had prompted people to feel damage was being done to the country, and particularly to democracy, which was seen as being undermined by the junta’s acts. Phumtham asked whether that was for the junta’s own benefit as well as its cronies, and whether it would be held responsible for the damage being done.

Phumtham said if the junta really wanted to enter politics and continue to wield power after the election, he believed that politicians would welcome their participation in a fair game. 

The question was whether or nor the junta was ready to prove itself, he said.

Phumtham also urged the junta to “come clean” on his questions and establish fair rules for all to help it reclaim integrity and the confidence of the public, he said.

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