22 May 2024

Ninety government MPs have signed a letter, addressed to parliament president Chuan Leekpai, requesting that the Constitutional Court rule on the legality of the budget bill for the 2020 fiscal year, after at least 2 proxy were cast on the budget bill.

Government chief whip, Mr. Wirat Rattanaseth, said today (Wednesday) that the MPs would like the Constitutional Court to rule on whether proxy voting is contrary to Section 120 of the Constitution and, if it is, whether the whole budget bill is affected, or only the sections endorsed by proxy votes, and what should be done next.

At least, two government MPs, Phatthalung MP Chalong Thoedveerapong and party-list MP Mrs. Nathee Ratchakitprakarn, were found to have cast their votes while they were absent from parliament during the debate in January.

Mr Wirat did not comment on whether the proxy voters would be held accountable if the court invalidates all or part of the budget bill.

He disclosed that there are only 350 electronic voting machines in parliament, while there are many more MPs and senators, which means they have to take turns to insert their ID cards into the machines.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm said that the proxy voting issue will definitely delay the disbursement of the new budget, but the Government can use residual funds from the previous year, which it has been doing for the past four months.

He assured that Government officials will still get paid, but several projects will have to wait until the charter court has ruled on the legality of the bill.

Related story: Proxy voting puts 2020 budget bill at risk