Thailand: Political ban stays ‘until I’m happy’: Prawit – 10 Aug 2017

  • The regime will not lift its restrictions on political activities any time soon owing to the unstable state of Thai politics and the number of pending lawsuits against politicians, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said.
  • Gen Prawit, who also serves as defence minister, made the remark 9 Aug 17. It comes after National Legislative Assembly (NLA) president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai on 8 Aug 17 forwarded the organic bill on political parties, which the NLA passed on 16 Jun 17, to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
  • The organic bill has been attacked by politicians as an attempt to weaken political parties by introducing a controversial primary voting system. This would see parties compelled to organise their own primaries nationwide to select parliamentary candidates. Yet there is no guarantee they would be free of fraud or truly representative of the parties, critics have said.
  • Mr Pornpetch said it was up to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to decide whether to relax the ban on political activities after the bill takes effect. If the restrictions are deemed to be obstructing political activities, the NCPO may consider easing them, he said.
  • Asked whether parties would be allowed to resume their activities when the bill becomes law, Gen Prawit, who oversees national security, said bluntly: “The bill has not been enacted.”

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