EC proposes changes to election law

The Election Commission (EC) will today propose nine amendments to the election law to the National Council for Peace and Order, EC secretary general Pichong Nutrawong said on Monday.

Judging from the content, the amendments aim to eliminate election fraud by curbing the power of politicians and enhance the EC's mandate.

The poll organiser proposed that MPs be drawn equally from constituencies and party lists, according to a Matichon Online report.

To reduce fraud and influence of local candidates, the first past the post (one man one vote) system should be superseded by the block vote (large constituency) system.

Party-list MPs should come from diverse professions, the EC said.

The Senate's composition would remain the same, with elected and appointed members.

All MP candidates should have been a party member for at least one year, and would serve a four-year term. No MP should serve no more than two consecutive terms, or eight years.

A political party should be more difficult to set up, with 15 founders and at least 5,000 members. It must also set up branches in all four regions before running in an election.

For its part, the EC wants the power to delay or extend the election date and the candidate registration period.

It also wants to be able to set a new voting day without having to consult the prime minister. This is to prevent incumbent political officials from taking advantage of other candidates, the report said.

If the House is dissolved, the cabinet should cease its duties automatically, since permanent secretaries couold take charge of day-to-day affairs.

The EC also seeks the power to access documents and call people in to give statements, with penalties for those who defy its orders.

It also suggested the court use only the information supplied by the EC in ordering a new election or revoking electoral rights, not information acquired from the inquisitorial system of the Criminal Court.

The EC argued in the past some witnesses recanted in court, preventing it from taking further action in fraud cases, the Matichon report said .

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