Junta’s lawmakers proposes more penalties for election absentee

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) may ban people who fail to vote from working for the government in a bid to increase the penalties for election absentees. The Election Commission may also have new powers to call for a re-election as it sees fit.  
 
On 25 December 2017, Taweesak Suthakavatin, spokesperson of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) committee responsible for vetting the organic law on the election of MPs, said the committee had reviewed all 178 articles and will submit the draft for final NLA approval in January.
 
According to the spokesperson, the committee has proposed amendments to 17 articles, including increased powers for the Election Commission of Thailand to rerun a general election if necessary and a ban on candidates providing vehicles to transport voters to polling stations. 
 
Taweesak added that the committee is discussing further amendments to four articles, including Article 35 dealing with penalties for people who do not go to vote.
 
According to the original draft, written by the junta’s Constitution Drafting Committee, those who fail to vote without informing the authorities in advance shall lose the rights to run in elections and will be disqualified from taking local administrative positions. The ban will last for two years or until that individual votes in the next election.  
 
Previously, Taweesak stated that the committee wanted to add further penalties, such as restricting the right to take a government position, but he said that the committee had not yet made a final decision.
 
The Organic Act on Members of Parliament is one of the four key organic laws that the NLA has to approve before a general election can be held in November 2018. Two have already been endorsed: the Organic Act on Political Parties and the Organic Act on the Election Commission. The Organic Act on the Selection of Members of the Senate is also being reviewed by the NLA.
 
 
All NLA members are appointed by the junta (Photo from National News Bureau of Thailand)