Election Commission clarifies about fund-raising activities and political donations

Political parties can hold fund-raising events until the Royal Decree on the election of members of the parliament comes into effect after which such activities are banned, but political donations can be received all the time, according to Election Commission’s deputy secretary-general Sawaeng Boonmee.

He was responding to questions related to a fund-raising banquet organized by Palang Pracharat party’s fund-raising event on Wednesday during a meeting Friday between election officials and representatives of 13 newly-established political parties.

Critics and rival politicians have contended that the Palang Pracharat’s fund raising might go against the election-related laws, citing that some of the donors which bought dinner tables priced at three million baht were governmental agencies.

Sawaeng told the participants at the meeting that the EC had earlier clarified to political parties they could accept political donations all the time and each individual could donate up to ten million baht.

However, he said that fund-raising activities could be held until the Royal Decree on the election of members of the parliament becomes effective after which they are not permissible.

The EC deputy secretary-general said political parties which had organized fund-raising events in the past few days might have already consulted the law whether their activities were legal or not “and there is no point to demand the EC to carry out an investigation because it was already written in the EC regulations that political parties must report the fund-raising activities to the political registrar.”

Besides the Palang Pracharat party, the Palang Prachachart Thai (ACT) party of de facto leader Suthep Thuagsuban also organized a fund-raising dinner last week, pocketing about 240 million baht.

Regarding election campaign, Sawaeng said political parties could do anything that the existing laws do not specify as illegal such as putting up campaign posters on private land.

But when the Royal Decree on the election of MPs becomes effective, political parties must strictly adhere to the law, said the EC deputy secretary-general, stressing that the EC has not curtailed the rights that the parties used to enjoy in the past such as the distribution of campaign leaflets, the use of campaign vehicles as well as electronic campaigning.


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