Junta still bans political activities after royal cremation

After raising hopes, the junta head will not be lifting the ban on political activities even though the royal cremation is over, explaining that the timing remains inappropriate. 
 
Junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha told the media today that the ban on political activity will remain in place to ensure social order and stability. He stated once again that the junta will revoke the ban when the proper time comes.
 
“I ask you to trust me. I myself am aware and thinking about this issue. But imagine if everything explodes!  And you can see that today it is still unsettled. Lots of people are still slandering each other,” stated the junta head
 
The same day, Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan made a similar statement, saying the junta has to maintain the ban on political activities as politicians are not yet walking “in the same direction”.
 
Since the new Organic Act on Political Parties was adopted on 8 October, politicians have become more vocal in urging the junta to lift the ban which has been in effect since the coup in 2014. They argue that the ban is preventing them from preparing for the upcoming election.
 
But the junta has repeatedly rejected these demands, citing the period of mourning for the late King Bhumibol. Prayut previously stated that the ban could be lifted only after the royal cremation, as there should be no political activity during the period of mourning.  
 
The Organic Act on Political Parties has been widely criticised for placing excessive burdens on small and newly-emerging parties with limited resources. One regulation requires parties to have at least 500 founding members, with each member contributing between 2,000 and 500,000 baht to start-up costs. A party needs to have 5,000 members within a year of being established and 20,000 members within 4 years.
 
Each party must have a branch in all regions and must have at least 100 members in each province. Existing parties also have to comply with these requirements in order to stand in an election. 
 
However, the junta insisted that the political activity ban will be lifted in time and will not affect preparations for an election. He urged politicians not to pester him too often to lift the ban as it makes him "unable to think".
 
“I will find some way. Don’t keep asking me how I will remove the ban. It makes me unable to think, so it’s slow. If you keep asking, I can’t really think. Let me think of a conclusion first, then I will reveal everything. It will be in time,” the junta head stated. 
 
 
 
Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha (Photo from Matichon)
 

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