Senators and MPs are set to vote on constitutional amendments this evening
Members of Thailand’s Parliament and senators are due to vote this evening on the six constitutional amendment motions, proposed by both the Government and Opposition, as protesters from the Free People Movement stage a rally outside Parliament to demand a rewrite of the charter.
Debate on the six motions, which began yesterday, and is scheduled to end at about 6pm today (Thursday), to be followed by a roll call vote on each motion.
Informed parliamentary sources say that Government MPs, with the exception of those from the Palang Prachachart Thai party, are likely to vote for the motion of Government Chief Whip, Mr. Wirat Rattanaseth, which proposes changes to Section 256 of the Constitution, to pave way for the creation of a Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) to write a new charter.
The Opposition Pheu Thai party submitted four motions, each proposing different constitutional amendments, including one which is similar to that of Mr. Wirat.
The sources said that the senators are still divided on charter amendments, with some favouring the CDA option, some favouring section-by-section amendments and others opposing any changes to the charter at all.
Amending the charter requires the support of at least 84 of the 250 senators, without which the attempt will fail.
The debate, which began yesterday, ended at about half past midnight. Government MPs have three hours and 20 minutes for debate today, while the Opposition have three hours and senators have two hours and 33 minutes.
In his speech yesterday, Senator Wanchai Sornsiri admitted that he was unenthusiastic about attempts to change the Constitution, until both the government and Opposition separately proposed amendments to Section 256, which persuaded him to change his mind and support their bid.
He said the CDA approach would help ease political tension and solve conflict between the Government and Opposition.