Drafters refuse to remove death penalty from new election law

Despite heavy criticism, the junta’s constitution drafters have insisted on keeping the death penalty in the organic law on political parties.
On 20 December 2016, Norachit Sinhaseni, spokesperson for the junta’s Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), said that after hosting public hearings on the Organic Bill on Political Parties, the CDC decided to retain the death penalty for politicians guilty of serious corruption, like receiving money in exchange for political positions, reported the Thai News Agency. 
Norachit added the drafters agreed to remove the penalty of dissolution for parties that fail to fulfil the ‘roles for political parties.’ The maximum punishment will be changed to cutting funding from the Election Commission of Thailand. 
The roles for political parties according to the bill are ‘encouraging people to engage in democratic values and freedom of expression’, ‘encouraging people to participate in politics and the checks and balances process’, ‘providing a proper development plan for the country’ and ‘creating unity and reconciliation and encouraging non-violent conflict resolution methods’.
Norachit also stated that the start-up costs that initial members of each party have to pay will be reduced from between 2,000 baht and 500,000 baht to between 1,000 baht and 300,000 baht. The number of members which a party needs within four years from its establishment will also be reduced from 20,000 to 10,000. 
After the CDC published the first version of the bill on 10 December, various politicians expressed concerns that this law will limit the proliferation of small parties. 
“Parties like this [without a nationwide structure] will have no opportunity to emerge, … which will result in only 5-6 parties remaining,” predicted Nipit Intrasombat, a deputy head of the Democrat Party.
Norachit Sinhaseni (Photo from Matichon Online)


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