Opposition parties say they will accept “People’s Constitution”

The opposition parties said on Tuesday that they will vote for a proposed constitutional amendment that would get rid of the Senate and members of independent institutions that were appointed by the previous junta.

“We unanimously agreed to accept the principles of the proposed amendment in the first voting agenda,” said Chonlanan Srikaew, the leader of the Pheu Thai party, during a press conference with other opposition leaders.

He said the opposition will support the bill because they want to stop “the transition of power [from the junta]” and make the charter more democratic.

At present, all of the senators are appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the previous junta, and all of them voted for General Prayut Chan-ocha, the former leader of the NCPO, to become the current prime minister.

“The Pheu Thai party saw that this set of senators illegitimately came into power because they were appointed by the NCPO,” said Chousak Sirinil, a legal adviser to the Pheu Thai party.

“Since they are illegitimate, we do not see what is wrong with the proposal to get rid of the Senate.”

He said another option proposed by the Pheu Thai party before is for the Senate to continue to exist but all senators should be elected by the voters.

People’s Constitution

The amendment, proposed by the Re-Solution group with 150,921 signatures from voters, will also replace current judges within the Constitutional Court and members of other independent institutions who were appointed by the NCPO with new members.

“The proposal is for a new structure where for example, members of the court and the independent institutions could be coming from nominations by both government and opposition MPs,” Chousak said.

On other proposals, the amendment stipulates that the prime minister must be a member of parliament which means that Prayut will not be eligible as a candidate unless he stands for election.

The amendment will also get rid of the previous junta’s 20-year national development plan and the amnesty for the coup-makers that was written into the current charter.

“The transition of power has severely pushed the country backward and if we can get rid of those mechanisms, it will benefit the country’s democratic development,” Chousak said.

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