By Thai Newsroom Reporters
THAI POLITICAL PARTIES have never established much growth largely due to unpredictable, capricious disruptions by coups and dissolutions, commented chief opposition whip Suthin Khlangsang today (Feb.25).
During today’s floor debate on the constitution’s organic law pertaining to political parties, Suthin remarked coups have been staged at the whims of the military top brass time and again only to keep political parties from growing and disrupt partisan development in which the people nationwide could have otherwise taken part.
“People were so worried about possibilities that their favourite parties might be shut down in the event of a coup or dissolved by court they no longer afforded to apply themselves as members of the parties,” Suthin said.
Thailand has so far seen 13 successful coups since the Change of Rule from absolute monarchy to democracy in 1932 with the latest one orchestrated in 2014 by the then-army chief Prayut Chan-o-cha to overthrow an elected government and name himself prime minister.
More than 110 parties have been dissolved for different alleged wrongdoings since 1997 such as Thai Rak Thai Party, the People’s Power Party and Future Forward Party, among others.
The Pheu Thai MP of Maha Sarakham commented his previous parties, namely Thai Rak Thai Party and People’s Power Party, were dissolved by highly controversial rulings of the Constitutional Court, thus disrupting their long-planned development in terms of popular support and membership expansion.
Suthin insisted that only any executive officials of a party who may have been found guilty of breaking the political party or other laws be held accountable or faced with criminal charges whereas the party of which millions of innocent people may have membership be kept intact from such personal wrongdoings and spared dissolution which, he said, would certainly stymie their growths and strength.
Bhumjaithai MP Natchanon Srikuakul suggested the Constitutional Court be deprived of the controversial power to dissolve any more parties so that they could grow and remain unthwarted in the course of partisan development and public participation.
Meanwhile, several MPs on both sides of the parliament chamber’s aisle agreed to name provincial-level partisan representatives instead of constituency-level ones as part of the long-proposed primary vote process ahead of a general election for MPs.
Palang Pracharath MP Virakorn Khamprakop said constituency-level partisan representatives would be practically difficult to find by newly-established parties such as his own and that provincial-level representatives will be capable of managing to name individual, constituency-based candidates running for MPs.
According to the coalition MP of Nakhon Sawan, a few old parties, namely Pheu Thai Party, largely viewed as a resurrected camp of the dissolved Thai Rak Thai Party and People’s Power Party, and Democrat Party, the country’s oldest, will fairly have numerical advantages over other camps with respect to their partisan members and branch offices, thus getting relatively well-prepared to run the primary vote process.
Thailand has so far registered 75 parties, mostly being considered as newcomers and having as yet made no MP in the 2019 election or previous ones.
However, an extraordinary committee in charge of scrutinising and incorporating varied drafts of the constitution’s organic laws on the election for MPs and political parties is yet to hammer out a joint resolution on the complicated primary vote process for a future race to parliament.
In another development, Pheu Thai Party leader Chonlanan Srikaew confirmed the largest opposition party recommends that any persons who currently are not a member of a party may provide consultations or guidance on various issues as long as the party’s executive board has not officially adopted a partisan resolution under influence of the “outsiders.”
Without naming names, Chonlanan’s comments apparently referred to suggestions and remarks frequently made by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on a wide range of issues during live streaming chats with Pheu Thai MPs and other staunch supporters since the last few years.
Thaksin who has been taking self-exile in Dubai and repeatedly said he will return home sooner or later is invariably viewed as “spiritual” leader of the originally named Thai Rak Thai Party which he himself founded in 1998.
The earlier-amended sections of the constitution pertaining to political parties prohibits any “outsiders” from literally taking “dominance” or providing “guidance” over any party.
A joint House/Senate session cast an overwhelming vote for three drafts of the organic law on political parties which are yet to be scrutinised and incorporated by the ad hoc committee set up yesterday.
Top: Chief opposition whip Suthin Khlangsang. Photo: Matichon
Home Page: Members of parliament wearing face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus stand at the parliament house on May 27, 2020. Photo: AP and published by Voice of America