Charter amendment: Thailand’s Move Forward Party seeks controversial rewrite


The Move Forward Party (MFP), Thailand’s principal opposition, is determined to push for a renewed charter amendment through a motion in Parliament on Wednesday. The motion, which is the first item on the debate agenda and is supported by the MFP and its spokesperson, Parit Wacharasindhu, has sparked concern among lawmakers due to the potential broad changes it could bring about.

Fears centre around the proposed amendments to the first and second chapters of the constitution. The first chapter outlines Thailand as a unified kingdom with a democratic regime, while the second chapter details the powers of the monarchy.

Adisorn Piengkes, a Pheu Thai Party MP for Si Sa Ket and the chief government whip confirmed yesterday that the motion adheres to the referendum law. He also stated that government coalition MPs will meet tomorrow to decide their stance.

The government is willing to hear what the MFP has to propose. Should the motion pass the House of Representatives, it will proceed to the Senate and then the Cabinet for approval.

Adisorn noted that the government, which opposes the amendment of the constitution’s first and second chapters, is not under any obligation to consider the motion. A committee has been established by the government to review the proposal, along with two sub-panels responsible for assessing public opinion and establishing referendum guidelines.

Phumtham Wechayachai, chair of the main committee, has previously stated that although the sub-panels are not working to a strict deadline, they are anticipated to conclude their tasks towards the end of the year.

Charter Amendment Push

Adisorn highlighted the government’s move to advocate for a referendum as a faster alternative to the MFP’s motion, which requires approval from both houses — a process that can be time-consuming. He also pointed out potential hurdles for the motion, including opposition from the Senate and the possibility of concurrent referendums from the government and the MFP, which could be seen as duplication.

The chief government whip suggested that even though the MFP has the right to present its motion, it should consider the reasoning and suitability of the motion. Adisorn emphasised that while amending the constitution is important to many voters, the process is likely to be guided by the government.

“The government and the MFP are united in their quest for a charter amendment, although the means of pursuing this are different.”

Adisorn further cautioned the MFP that its insistence on changing the entire charter could undermine its chances of forming a government due to strong opposition to its uncompromising stance. Despite this, Parit maintained the party’s position on proposing unrestricted changes to the charter, reported Bangkok Post.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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