Opposition party does U-turn on senate powers

PHOTO: Thai PBS World

The Pheu Thai Party says it will now back a proposal submitted by the Kao Klai party to strip the Senate of powers to elect the PM. Abolishing such authority would involve an amendment to the country’s Constitution, which Somkid Chuakong from Pheu Thai says his party is not opposed to. Both the vocal anti-government protest groups, Free People and Free Youth, are also in favour of Kao Klai’s proposal.

According to Thai PBS World, Somkid’s explanation for the Pheu Thai U-turn is that politics is always evolving, with the situation changing week by week, and that the party must be prepared to be flexible.

Somkid says the Pheu Thai Party could put forward its own motion to limit the Senate’s powers, having over 100 votes in the House of Representatives. However, he says that abolishing the Senate’s powers when electing the PM may not be enough, pointing out that current stipulations allow senators to be re-elected into Parliament. He says his party plans to submit a motion for every section of the Constitution that needs to be amended, rather than one motion covering several. In this way, if one motion does not receive enough votes, the others remain on the table.

Pheu Thai members are also in favour of creating a Constitution Drafting Assembly, which would allow for a re-write of the Constitution.

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SOURCE: Thai PBS World

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