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Ombudsman asks Constitutional Court to rule on the legitimacy of NCPO Order

Written by Thailand News

The Ombudsman has asked the Constitutional Court to determine whether the NCPO Order 53/2560 seeking amendments to Political Party Act deprives the right of and adds more burden on political parties.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, as head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) last December invoked Section 44 of the interim charter to amend the Political Party Act to give parties more time to prepare for the general election and also instructed political parties to followed the required steps.

The required steps and preparations include the recruitment of party members to meet legal requirements, the appointment of the party leader, secretary-general and executive committee for each party, membership registration and membership list, party manifesto. Each party is also required to put up a fund of at least one million baht.

According to the NCPO chief order, the deadline for political parties to undertake all the necessary steps as required by the law is being extended 30 more days, or by the end of May 2018, so that they can field candidates in the next election and are eligible to receive funding from the government.

For the political party’s general assembly, the NCPO chief order states that the assembly must be held within 90 days after the NCPO’s ban on political activities is lifted and that political activities other than stated in this order are not allowed.

The Ombudsman’s move to seek the Constitutional Court’s interpretation of the controversial order followed petitions by the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties, claiming that their parties have been affected by the NCPO order, with the deprivation of their right and additional burden for party members.

Secretary-General of the Ombudsman’s Office Mr Rakkecha Chaechai said on Friday (March 30) that while the charter court is yet to issue its ruling, all parties are bound to the NCPO order to start their activity as of April 1 until the charter court has ruled otherwise.

Democrat party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva also asked the Ombudsman to coordinate with the NCPO to amend the order which will save the trouble of going through the Constitutional Court’s process which is more time consuming.

Mr Abhisit said that there is no need to bother the court if the NCPO agrees to amend the order willingly.

Democrat deputy leader Nipit Intharasombat said the party’s members will shrink to about 100,000 from 2.5 million if the charter court fails to come up with its ruling before April 30.

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