11 July 2024

The Progressive Movement has unveiled its draft constitutional amendment, which seeks to dismantle state control over local administrative bodies by giving them more freedom and independence in the management of local affairs.

Progressive Movement leader and one of the 22 initiators of the draft, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, told the media yesterday (Monday) that he will start collecting the signatures of the 22, after which the draft will be submitted to parliament ahead of the launch of a campaign, tentatively on April 1st, to collect signatures from members of the public to support the draft.

At least 50,000 signatures are needed to second any draft amendment for deliberation in parliament.

According to another initiator, Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, the draft seeks to amend Chapter 14 of the existing Constitution regarding decentralisation of local administration and includes greater independence for local administrative bodies in managing local affairs, such as public services and revenue allocation, the transfer of some responsibilities from the state to local administrative bodies and so on. The draft also aims to provide clarity about which competences belong to national governing bodies versus the local ones, so that their work does not overlap.

Piyabutr said that, although the so-called 1997 People’s Constitution has set the groundwork for decentralisation of local administrative bodies, it has never been fully realised, with the state refusing to let go of their reins.

In the eyes of the government, he said that local administrative bodies are subordinate and must answer to it.