Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Court hears arguments on political parties, MPs laws

Apr 25. 2018
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REPRESENTATIVES OF involved agencies lined up yesterday to submit explanations to the Constitutional Court regarding the alleged unconstitutionality of the organic laws governing political parties and MPs.

The Constitutional Court agreed to review the matter two weeks ago, but despite widespread concern about a further election delay, authorities have yet to specify when a verdict will be delivered.

The organic law governing political parties became a subject of complaint due to an amendment brought by the controversial junta order No 53/60. It, for instance, requires members of political parties to confirm their membership or lose their status within this month. The Pheu Thai and Democrat parties separately took the matter to the Ombudsman’s office, calling for it to petition the Constitutional Court. Both parties complained that the amendment deprived party members of their rights and hence was unconstitutional.

The Constitutional Court earlier this month requested a further explanation to be submitted yesterday. 

Democrat legal official Wirat Kalayasiri told The Nation that, besides its argument about rights and freedom, the party also presented to the court examples of the difficulties it has been facing in the past month in the confirmation of membership status.

The requirement for parties to have their members reconfirm their status has cost parties a number of members. Chart Thai Pattana Party, for instance, has only about 2,000 members who have already registered. Previously, the Suphanburi-based party had over 20,000 members. In part, they argued that the confirmation process had been made especially difficult because of the number of public holidays in April. 

The court also required the plaintiff concerning the constitutionality of the MPs election organic law to submit further explanation by yesterday. Reportedly, the National Legislative Assembly was represented by some Parliament officials, who submitted an explanation letter in the morning.

The major concerns involve the ban on voters who fail to turn up from becoming political office-holders, and the provision of assistance to people with special needs at the polling booth.


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