thai parliament passes three draft bills to amend political party act in first reading - Thai parliament passes three draft bills to amend Political Party Act in first reading

Tonight (Friday), a joint session of Thailand’s Senate and House of Representatives passed the first reading of three draft bills related to political parties, proposed by the cabinet, governing coalition parties, Palang Pracharath MP Anan Pholamnuay and his co-sponsors.

The Cabinet draft was passed 597:11, with 14 abstentions. The Palang Pracharath drafts passed 577:19 and 407:184 with 26 and 28 abstentions respectively. One MP did not cast a vote for the latter draft.

The joint session also rejected another three drafts, proposed by the opposition Pheu Thai party, the Move Forward party and the Prachachat party.

The three bills proposed by Pheu Thai were rejected 220:371, with 30 abstentions and one no vote. Move Forward’s proposed draft failed 204:380, with 14 abstentions and one no vote, and the Prachachat draft was rejected 206:375, with 37 abstentions.

A 49-member parliamentary committee has been formed to scrutinise the three approved drafts, with the cabinet version being used as the basis.

Yesterday, the joint session also passed four election-related draft bills, one of which were proposed by the cabinet. The others were proposed by the governing coalition parties and the opposition.

The Pheu Thai party draft, regarding political parties, was rejected by many senators because it seeks to remove Sections 28 and 29 of the Act which, they argue, will pave the way for a party to be dominated by “outsiders”, in the Pheu Thai case, possibly by former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.