Thai Cabinet approves assembly for constitutional referendum, amid MFP exit

Picture courtesy of Matichon

The assembly to draft a referendum on revising the constitution is set to convene on Tuesday, following the Cabinet’s recent approval of its 35 members, reveals Chusak Sirinil, a member of the assembly.

The assembly, under the leadership of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Phumtham Wechayachai, will deliberate on modifications to the committee after the exit of the Move Forward Party (MFP).

Chusak, who also serves as a Pheu Thai-list Member of Parliament, disclosed that the committee’s primary responsibilities include reaching an agreement on the number of referendums required to specify the role and composition of the proposed drafting assembly (CDA).

Concerning the referendum process, Chusak indicates that there is a division of opinion on the number of stages that might be necessary, in addition to ensuring that the process aligns with a previous Constitutional Court judgement.

In 2021, the Constitutional Court decreed that the public must sanction any attempts to amend the entire constitution, and if a revision is approved, a subsequent referendum must be conducted to endorse the content.

Based on this judgement, Chusak mentions that a minimum of two stages would be necessary, but adds that some propose that a third stage might be required, reported Bangkok Post.

Discussing the role and structure of the CDA, Chusak notes that while some advocate for the CDA to be directly elected, others propose it should also contain nominated members.

He expresses confidence that these two contentious issues will be resolved by year’s end, adding that this debate must be resolved first.

Meanwhile, Chaithawat Tulathon, the leader of the MFP, confirmed yesterday that despite their formal withdrawal, the party would continue to offer suggestions to the committee.

He appealed to the government to consider all stakeholders and allow them the freedom to express their views, to prevent a resurgence of political discord.

Pita Limjaroenrat, MFP’s chief advisor, reiterated the party’s position that it advocates for comprehensive change and that the charter drafting assembly should be directly elected.

He explained that the MFP had refrained from joining the panel due to concerns that it was established to delay the charter rewrite.

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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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