Charter amendment bill voted down

The bill seeking to amend the current Constitution which was promulgated while the military junta was in power in 2017 was voted down late Wednesday night after more than 10 hours of heated debate.

Appointed senators played a key role in derailing the bill with virtually all of them either voting against it or abstaining while all MPs of Palang Pracharath, the core coalition party, also abstained, thus depriving the bill of the simple majority it needed to pass.

Under the current Constitution, a constitutional amendment needs the endorsement of at least one-third of senators to be adopted.  The 250 senators were handpicked by the military junta and most have spoken out against the amendment bill.

While MPs of the Democrat Party voted in its favour, MPs of another government party Bhumjaithai, staged a walkout in protest, signaling a potential rift within the coalition.

The vote followed a ruling by the Constitutional Court last week that Parliament was empowered to write a new Constitution but that a national referendum must be held first to get public consent.

The bill seeks to set up a so-called “people’s constitution-drafting assembly” to write a new constitution.


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