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New ban proposed for people who do not vote

CHIANG MAI: A panel vetting the MP organic law has discussed an additional penalty for eligible voters who have failed to cast the ballot __ they may not work for a public service for two years.

Taweesak Sutakavatin, spokesmen of the National Legislative Assembly’s panel vetting the bill, said on Monday the idea was floated after the panel members discussed the three punishments listed by constitutional writers, who drafted the bill.

In the constitutional writers’ version, anyone who fails to exercise his right to vote will be deprived of three rights for two years __ the rights to file a complaint against an election, to run as MP or senator, and to run as kamnan or village chief.

Mr Taweesak said the panel members agreed with the three bans but some would like to go a step further.

However, the panel will have to consider the idea carefully because barring people from taking a certain profession was no small issue, he said. 

The panel also discussed the method of counting the ban years, he added.

“We also talked about how to count the two-year ban but have yet to reach a conclusion. Some think it should be added up __ two years if he fails to vote the first time and another two if he still does not vote the second time. But others feel it should not be added,” he said.

Mr Taweesak also dismissed a recent proposal by a former MP for reconciliation.

Somsak Thepsutin, leader of the Neutral Democratic Party (formerly Matchima Party), said on Friday for reconciliation purposes, he would like to see MPs run in the next election without party banners. He also proposed all 400 MPs come from constituencies with no party-list MPs. These MPs will serve one year to amend related laws. With no parties to answer to, reconciliation talks will be easier, he argued.

"The issue [that an MP must belong to a party] was concluded even before the constitution was drafted. I don’t know what to do if it is proposed just now. It’s like asking for something outside the framework. The charter prescribes that an MP candidate must belong to a political party. If we want to change that we’ll need to amend the constitution. And many have already suspect hidden agenda," Mr Taweesak said.

Critics have said the move would pave the way for an outsider prime minister if there are no parties involved.

On the suggestion that the MP bill’s interim clauses be revised to allow parties time to prepare themselves for the next general election, Mr Taweesak said it was not possible.

“What parties are required to do and for how long is outlined by the political parties law, not the MP bill,” he said. 

Parties have complained they did not have enough time to do what is constitutionally required of them before the next general election because the junta would not lift the ban on their activities. 

source :

06:56 - 2/01/2018    /    Number : 695096    /    Show Count : 52

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