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The next joint parliamentary debate on the charter amendment proposals is scheduled for this week.
The previous debate on charter amendment ended with on Constitutional Court ruling that any move to change the charter must first be approved by a referendum.
In the same ruling the Court also found that the parliament does have the remit to write a new constitution in principle, but that any revised text would then need to be approved by a second referendum.
The ruling by the CC dispelled hopes that parliament could quickly write a new constitution and get it approved before the next general election in 2023.
This inevitably led many political parties to pursue a section-by-section approach to circumvent writing a new charter completely.
Here are the four proposals and who made them:
1. The proposal made by Paiboon Nititawan, the deputy leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), which includes five points and the amendment of 13 sections. It is the only proposal that does not mention the unelected senate.
- To amend sections that will provide more rights for citizens.
- To revert back to the two-ballot system. The PPRP proposed that one ballot should be for 400 constituency members of parliament instead of the previous 350 and the other for 100 party-list MPs instead of the previous 150.
- To amend the Appropriation Act.
- To amend Section 185 to allow MPs and senators to directly engage with government agencies in troubled areas.
- To amend Section 270 to allow MPs and senators to oversee the 20-year national reform plans. Right now, this job only belongs to the senate.
2. The proposal to “abolish the Prayut regime” made by the Re-Solution which consists of four groups, including the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), the Elect and ConLab, the Progressive Movement and the Move Forward Party.
- To abolish the junta-appointed senate.
- To change the judges in the Constitutional Court and limit the court’s power.
- To abolish the junta-drafted national reform plans.
- To remove all traces of the 2014 coup and prevent all future coups.
3. The nine proposals made by coalition parties including the Democrat, Bhumjaithai and Chart Thai Pattana parties:
- To amend sections that will provide more rights for citizens such as legal, community and consumer rights.
- To change back to the two-ballot system with 400 constituency MPs and 100 party-list MPs.
- To amend Section 256 and change the requirement where a two-third majority is needed to amend the charter, instead of the current majority only.
- To get rid of Section 272 which allow the senates to vote for a premier with MPs.
- To make sure that only an MP can become a candidate for the prime minister position.
- To update the 20-year national reform plans.
- To amend the investigating procedure of the National Anti-Corruption Commission by setting up an independent committee to screen cases before it can be handed to the Constitutional Court. Right now, this job only belongs to the president of the parliament.
- To give more power to the local administrations.
4. The proposals made by oppositions parties including Pheu Thai, Pheu Chart, Move Forward, Seri Ruam Thai, Prachachart, Phalang Puangchon Thai and Thai Civilized parties:
- To amend Section 256 to allow for the setting of a new charter drafting committee
- To get rid of Section 272 which allows the senate to vote for a premier with MPs.
- To amend sections that will provide more rights for citizens such as healthcare and legal rights
- To abolish the 20-year national reform plans.
- To revert back to the two-ballot system.