Prawit: Political ban stays 'until I'm happy'

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputy, Prawit Wongsuwon share a light moment while talking Wednesday with Thai athletes bound for the 19th SEA Games. The two agree that the 100% ban on political activities will remain in place indefinitely. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The regime will not lift its restrictions on political activities any time soon owing to the unstable state of Thai politics and the number of pending lawsuits against politicians, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said.

Gen Prawit, who also serves as defence minister, made the remark Wednesday. It comes after National Legislative Assembly (NLA) president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai on Tuesday forwarded the organic bill on political parties, which the NLA passed on June 16, to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. The premier will now submit the legislation to His Majesty the King for royal endorsement.

The organic bill has been attacked by politicians as an attempt to weaken political parties by introducing a controversial primary voting system. This would see parties compelled to organise their own primaries nationwide to select parliamentary candidates. Yet there is no guarantee they would be free of fraud or truly representative of the parties, critics have said.

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