By THE NATION
Among suggestions for changes to the draft made during its first reading last November was to include an article empowering the Election Commission (EC) to immediately investigate an MP candidate accused of committing acts of graft, without the need for court-issued warrants.
NLA vetting committee spokesperson Thaweesak Soothkawathin said that while the law already authorised the EC as a state official under the Criminal Code, they still need court warrants to investigate.
While this issue has yet to come to a conclusion, some committee members viewed that giving that power to the EC would grant them overwhelming authority. The suggestions for amendments to the MP election bill draft also included prohibition against “dishonest opinion polls” on the election. “Any poll can be conducted [under] the EC regulation but it must contain no bias,” Thaweesak said.
The vetting committee also agreed with the NLA to delete a clause that would refund candidates their deposits if they received more than five per cent of votes. However, they chose to maintain requirements for candidates to declare tax payment records dating back three years. While the NLA also suggested that candidates be allowed to register an online election campaign, the vetting committee merely noted that any campaign is prohibited three days before voting day.
Any further proposals could be submitted on EC forms, Thaweesak said.