Following the calls made by political parties and by some academics to have the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) lift its ban on political activities or annul its announcement no. 57/2557 so that political parties can conduct activities after the organic law governing political parties, B.E. 2560, came into effect on October 8, 2017, the head of the NCPO had earlier said that he would consider this matter after the royal cremation ceremony. However, on 31st October and again on 7th November, the NCPO gave new reasons for not lifting the ban on grounds that peace and order is not yet restored in the country; some parties are still at loggerheads; there are distortion of facts; two organic laws have yet to be passed; the sourcing of the 7 committee members for the Election Commission is not yet complete and the NCPO said that it may have to use some special measures or other legal means to resolve the problems that may arise in the future.

Pheu Thai Party deems that the calls made by the political parties and academics to lift the ban is not to benefit the political parties or politicians, but it is a call for the NCPO to remove the obstacles so that political parties can carry  out their duties within the legal time frame.  It is merely a call for the NCPO and the head of the NCPO to follow the constitution and the law as Section 45 stipulates that individuals shall have the freedom to establish political parties, in line with the democratic government in which the King is the Head of State.  Now that the organic law governing the political parties have come into effect, which allows for the establishment of political parties and enforces that the parties must take several actions without any exceptions, it is then the NCPO and its leader's responsibility to ensure that these activities can be carried out according to the law. By banning the parties' political activities, the NCPO itself is not following the constitution nor the law.  The crucial point is that the law has specified several actions that political parties must fulfill, all of which are important issues that will affect those who run for Members of the House of Representatives, which includes drawing up the regulations; checking the eligibility of its members; setting up the party's branches and selecting representatives for the provinces.  If all the required steps are not fulfilled, the parties may not be able to field their candidates.  Another important issue is in drawing up the party's policies which requires that the parties must show where their budgets will come from; the parties must listen to the voice of the people and the voice of its party members. To do this, the parties will have to visit the areas to gather information in order to draw up their policies.  All the above will need a period of time to achieve, so the NCPO's ban on political activities may be a way or an excuse to defer the election, as with other excuses used in the past.  This will lead the society to believe that the NCPO is playing with politics and taking political advantage in order to pave way to have “an outsider” become prime minister, as the constitution has made provisions for, or to pave way for a party that the NCPO supports to be fully ready for the election.When considering the excuses that the NCPO announced on 7th November, as stated above, the excuses used to continue the ban on political parties' activities are absurd and groundless as maintaining peace and order is already within the NCPO's and the government's authority.  In the past, the NCPO had exercised this authority to the full; therefore, it should not tie up the issue of having political parties observe the law and the issue of maintaining peace and order together.  As for the other two organic laws on the election of house representatives and senators, these are different from the ones governing the political parties while the other excuse on sourcing the Election Commission members has nothing to do with the political parties' activities as the present members are still active and have even drawn up drafts that are almost complete.  The NCPO announced that it may have to use additional measures and use the authority that it has to solve the various obstacles in the future - shows that the NCPO itself also sees that problems may arise from this political ban.

It can then be said that all the excuses made by the NCPO were made to avoid returning power to the people and to defer the election further in order to gain a political advantage. Pheu Thai Party sees that the country is going through a time of hardship; therefore, the NCPO should not resort to excuses in the hope of prolonging its stay in power.  Expediting the return of power to the people will be best way forward.

Pheu Thai Party deems that the NCPO must abide by the constitution and the law by annulling the announcement no. 57/2557 without any conditions attached so that the political parties can take actions they need to, as required by law.  The NCPO has always called on everyone to respect and observe the law, therefore, it must also do the same, otherwise it will be seen as being above the constitution and the law.

For the kind information

Pheu Thai Party

November 8, 2017