Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in his capacity as head of the National Council for Peace and Order invoked Section 44 of the interim Constitution to amend the transitional provision of the Political Parties Act to give political parties more time to prepare for the upcoming election.
The NCPO chief’s order no. 53/2560 to amend the Political Parties Act was published in the Royal Gazette on Friday (Dec 22).
In the order, the NCPO chief noted that several existing parties and those to be set up had expressed concern that, due to time constraints and the ban on political activities which are still in force, they would not be able to fulfill all the necessary steps and preparations that required of them within the timeframe set in the Political Parties Act which came into force as of Oct 8.
Although the registrar of political parties is empowered to use his discretion to extend the period for individual parties on case-by-case basis under the transitional provision, the NCPO chief felt that, for the benefit of all parties, they should all be given more time to fulfil the legal requirements so they could contest the election.
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 ban on political activities is lifted and that political activities other than stated in this order are not allowed.