Bid to strip senators’ of power to elect PM foiled due to lack of a quorum
An attempt to amend the Constitution, to strip senators of the power to elect the prime minister, at a joint sitting of parliament today (Wednesday) has failed after the meeting collapsed due to the lack of a quorum.
President of the Parliament Chuan Leekpai informed the meeting that 95 senators and 15 MPs took leave today and there were only 308 legislators in the chamber, short of the 333 required to make up a quorum. He then adjourned the meeting at 12.02pm.
The motion to amend Section 159 of the Constitution and to revoke Section 272 was proposed by Pheu Thai MPs, led by party leader Chonlanan Srikaew.
The joint sitting of the Senate and the House was supposed to start at 9am but, after about one and a half hours, there were only 277 legislators, including 234 MP and 43 senators, in the chamber, 56 short of a quorum.
Move Forward party-list MP Nutthawut Buaprathum said that there were more than half of the MPs in the house, as he urged the MPs and senators sipping coffee and tea in the canteen to attend the meeting.
Another Move Forward party-list MP Thiratchai Panthumat asked whether the senators who failed to attend the meeting should be accused of dereliction of duty.
At about 11.09am, Chuan informed the legislators present that the meeting could proceed because there was a quorum. Senator Somchai Sawangkarn proposed, however, that the meeting should discuss a motion, which has been pending since January 25th, before proceeding with the constitutional amendments agenda.
Democrat MP Chinnavorn Bunyakiat asked Somchai to withdraw his motion, but the latter declined.
Finally, Chuan interrupted by calling for a head count in the chamber and then declared the meeting adjourned.