Amendment to reform Constitution rejected by Parliament

PHOTO: A draft to revise the Constitution was rejected. The original 1932 Constitution of Siam is seen here. (via Wikimedia)

A draft amendment started by Pheu Thai Party, an opposition party, to establish a Constitution Drafting Assembly has just been rejected in the parliament. The legal advisory committee to parliament rejected the amendment, which was intended as a path towards creating a new, revised charter.

The section in question, Section 256 in Thailand’s constitution, would be amended in order to allow a new committee to write a new charter. The Constitution Drafting Assembly would endeavour to create a new charter for Thailand. In March, senators and parliament members voted down a third attempt at opposition parties amending Section 256.

After failing, Palang Pracharat filed a petition to get a ruling about whether the amendment was legitimate from the Constitutional Court. The court ruled that a national referendum must be held to confirm that the people of Thailand desire the amendment. Then parliament can pass a motion to write a new charter, after which the amendment could be approved by a second national referendum.

With that ruling from the Constitutional Court, the advisor to parliament president and House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said that the new draft amendment could not be considered in parliament deliberations in the upcoming June 23 and 24 session. It must now pass the national referendum first. Activists attempted to file charges against people who previously voted for the draft since it was in violation of legal proceedings without a referendum.

The politicians have been coming at the fight for an amendment to the Constitution from all sides, by submitting multiple amendment proposals as a collective and also by each party separately. They hope the continued submissions will eventually result in at least a few pieces of legislation creeping through and changing the charter in baby steps.

Opposition wants to write a new charter but stated that they intend to keep the beginning of the existing Constitution, retaining Chapters 1 and 2 that pertain to the monarchy and the basic provisions of Thailand as a country. They plan on adding Chapter 15/1 though – provisions to cover the writing of a new charter.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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Neill Fronde

Neill is a journalist from the United States with 10+ years broadcasting experience and national news and magazine publications. He graduated with a degree in journalism and communications from the University of California and has been living in Thailand since 2014.

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