Dissolution call vexes established parties
A proposal to get all parties "back to square one" by abolishing them
as they stand and forcing them to re-register is getting on the nerves
of politicians again.
Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, a core member of the Pheu Thai Party,
brought up the proposal at a recent forum.
She said new legislation to be issued as an organic law under the
constitution, assuming it passes the referendum next month, would
make the proposal possible, though it is no means welcome news
to the established parties.
Since the coup over two years ago, speculation about the
"back-to-square-one" scenario has emerged as it reflects the 2014
coup-maker's agenda to wipe out the current parties and reset the
If the draft charter is endorsed, the military-appointed Constitution
Drafting Committee (CDC) will remain in office to draft 10
Politicians and academics believe one of the new laws, a political
party act, may stipulate the dissolution of all parties and require the
setting up of new ones. This will serve the agenda of the
coup-makers, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO),
to break the circuit of red-yellow shirt conflicts of the past, and
could challenge the dominamce of the traditional parties.
Some say dissolving the parties would create equality among the
various contenders, which may help reduce conflicts.
Under such circumstances, the government also hopes it can
prevent the country slipping back into the same old divides
of the past. However, neither the government nor the CDC has
made it clear whether they will opt for the move.
Meechai Ruchupan, who leads the CDC, brushed aside the topic
in recent interviews, saying there have been no particular talks on
the issue. He insisted the priority is the Aug 7 referendum on the draft
charter. If it is endorsed, Mr Meechai said his panel will draft
the 10 organic laws, and four of them will be related to elections:
a general election law, a political party law, an Election Commission
law and a law governing the selection of senators.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, also head of the
NCPO, has not completely ruled out the possibility of taking all
politicians back to square one. "I've never said it is possible,
nor have I said it's not possible. Just don't quote me as saying it,"
he told reporters recently.
Such a lack of a clear direction from both the CDC and the NCPO
has worried the parties as it means they cannot plan their future.
Politicians are united in their calls for a clear stance on the issue
from the NCPO and the CDC, and will do whatever they can to
stop party dissolution happening.
Mr Meechai said the move could be an indirect means to challenge
the draft charter in the lead-up to the referendum.
"They've tried every way to slam the draft charter, and whenever
they couldn't locate a flaw in the draft,they usually made up one,"
said the CDC chairman. "Our priority is to inform the public this
has nothing to do with the draft charter," he said.
What concerns the parties most is the new political party act could
open the chance for politicians to move to other parties or even form
new ones. This will affect the viability of the established parties and
their power bases.
For the Pheu Thai Party, this is an effort to clip its wings and
prevent it from winning a majority in the House and taking a lead
in forming a government.
The Democrat Party also fears this scenario could threaten its
long established identity. Party deputy leader Ong-art Klampaibul
has spoken out against the plan. "Any effort to register new parties
will make it burdensome for both the existing parties and
millions of their members who will have to undergo a new process
which could be lengthy.
It will not benefit anyone," he said.
If the CDC drafted such a rule, it could be seen as an effort trying
to weaken existing parties and support new ones that have
connections with the powers-that-be such as the military, which
would not be good for the government's road map to democracy,
said Mr Ong-art.
Many have raised fears dissolution of the parties will open the
door for the NCPO to prolong its power. Under the current political
climate, parties are more vulnerable to interference.
The draft constitution, with its special provision allowing the
Senate to join in a vote to select the prime minister, can make it
worse for them.
Given these concerns, the parties have made their points known
to the public in the hope the idea will not become a reality.
News,Politics,Bangkok Post,6 July 2016.
In my viewpoint,it is no benefit to make all parties back
to square one because same old politicians will form
the party again,like in the past.
If the referendum on Aug.7 is endorsed ,the written organic law
should lead to how to make the election transparent including
how to stop buying and selling rights.
For two years from the coup,it seems all politicians still think for
themselves not for the country,that is sad to know.