Peerasak Porjit, deputy president of the National Legislative Assembly, flatly denies the NLA members are using technical moves to buy time in power for the regime. (FB/peerasak.porjit)

Phuket: National Legislative Assembly (NLA) vice-chairman Peerasak Porjit has denied reports that an organic bill governing the election of MPs has been rejigged to buy some more time for the government to stay on in power.

Apart from the controversial extension of the bill’s start date by 90 days, another issue involves allowing political parties to provide entertainment during vote-canvassing, which has drawn criticism from the EC.

Earlier, Election Commission (EC) member Somchai Srisutthiyakorn wrote on Facebook that the NLA might be trying to incorporate contentious issues in the organic bill on MP elections so as to trigger disagreement from other agencies, adding to delays.

The NLA voted on Jan 25 to extend enforcement of the organic bill governing the election of MPs by another 90 days. This would effectively delay the poll until February. Mr Peerasak said the next step is for the NLA to forward the bill to the EC, and the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) to consider the bill for 10 days. If they think any provisions may go against the constitution, a joint committee comprising the EC, the CDC and the NLA will be set up to fine-tune the bill within 15 days, Mr Peerasak said.

He also rejected reports the NLA had lobbied the EC to dispute the bill. It would be sensible to set up the joint committee to consider the bill and if there is still disagreement as to whether the bill complies with the constitution, the bill must be submitted to the Constitutional Court, Mr Peerasak said.

He also said the 90-day extension of the bill’s start date does not mean delaying the election for 90 days. The extension is intended to give parties and the EC enough time to prepare.

According to the constitution, an election must be held within 150 days of the four election-related laws being promulgated. But the EC may hold the election sooner and it is up to the poll-organising agency and the government to discuss the poll date, Mr Peerasak said.

The organic bill governing the election of MPs is among four organic bills essential for holding an election which have cleared the NLA. The other bills pertain to parties and the EC. The bill on the EC is being checked by the court concerning the qualifications of election commissioners.

News Reporter

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