NLA stalls on political parties bill

NLA stalls on political parties bill

A National Legislative Assembly (NLA) committee scrutinising the organic bill on political parties has not yet made any conclusion on some of the bill’s provisions and plans to seek more views from NLA members next week.

Gen Somjate Boonthanom, chairman of the NLA committee, on Saturday said the committee has made considerable progress in scrutinising the bill drawn up and submitted by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).

Of the bill’s 142 sections in total, the panel has now finished vetting 130 of them, he said.

However, there are still a few proposed provisions which cannot be agreed upon and they must be suspended pending further discussion with other NLA members, Gen Somjate said.

They include a provision regarding the 1-million-baht initial capital required to establish a political party and a provision on a 100-baht annual party membership fee, he said.

On May 20-21, the NLA will hold a seminar in Chanthaburi during which the committee will ask NLA members to contribute their views on these proposed provisions, Gen Somjate said.

The committee has until June 6 to finalise the bill, he added. It is one of the three organic bills essential for holding the general election expected some time in the middle of next year.

The other two bills — one on the election of MPs and one on the Election Commission — are being prepared by the CDC. The NLA has 60 days in which to deliberate the bills and pass them into law.

Gen Somjate said committee members still differed over the CDC’s proposal for a 1-million-baht initial capital required to establish parties.

Some members wanted to slash the sum to 500,000 baht while others suggested there should be no such initial capital for the establishment of parties, Gen Somjate said.

Committee members also disagreed with a proposed provision which requires party members to pay an annual membership fee of 100 baht, he said.

Some committee members suggested that if party members are to pay membership fees, they should be given a greater role in parties, Gen Somjate said.