Pheu Thai party demands lifting of political ban

The Pheu Thai party issued a statement calling on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to lift the ban on political activities, reasoning that by retaining the ban, the junta itself is not adhering to the Constitution.

Earlier, Pheu Thai party members came out on different occasion to demand the NCPO to “unlock” political parties or to ease restrictions on political activities, noting that the junta itself had given the promise to lift the ban after the end of the Royal Cremation ceremony and the one-year mourning period.  However, their repeated calls were brushed aside by both Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan.

In the statement released on Wednesday (Nov 8), the Pheu Thai party said the calls made by political parties and academics for the lifting of the political ban were not intended to benefit political parties or politicians, but intended for the NCPO to follow the Constitution which guarantees the right of individuals to form political parties.

With the organic law governing political parties already enforceable, the party said that it is the responsibility of the junta to ensure that political parties can carry out political activities according to the law.

The party said that NCPO retaining the political ban may be an excuse to defer the election.  “This will lead the society to believe that the NCPO is playing with politics and taking political advantage in order to pave the way to have “an outsider” to become prime minister.”

Gen Prayut refuses to lift the ban on political activities.

It went on saying that the junta should not resort to excuses to prolong its stay in power.

“The NCPO has always called on everyone to respect and observe the law, therefore, it must also do likewise, otherwise it will be seen as being above the Constitution and the law,” the statement added.

Meanwhile, election commissioner Somchai Srisuttiyakorn, warned political parties to brace for new rules, especially the requirement to submit their party membership lists within 90 days or within Jan 5, 2018 otherwise they may be disbanded, but they can ask for an extension from the Election Commission.

“This has nothing to do with whether the election will be postponed or not.  This is the legal requirement that must be met by all parties.  If they made it, they will be entitled to field candidates for the election.  If not they will lose the right to contest the election,” said Mr Somchai.