11 July 2024

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam offered an assurance today (Monday) that the government is not dragging its feet over election-related organic bills and may open an extraordinary parliamentary session, probably in April, should the February timeline is not met, to allow the MPs to deliberate the bills for their second and final readings.

He explained that there is no need for the two bills, drafted by the Election Commission, to be approved by the cabinet, after they have been vetted by the Council of State, and they will be sent back to the Election Commission to conduct public hearings within 15 days.

After the completion of this process, the two bills will be ready for submission to parliament for deliberation.

One bill is to change the proportion of party-list and constituency MPs in the House to 100 and 400 MPs respectively, instead of 150 and 350 as stipulated in the pre-amended Constitution. The other bill is for two ballots in the next election, one for constituency MPs and the other for parties.

The opposition Pheu Thai party has also submitted its own versions of the two organic bills to parliament.

Wissanu said the deliberation of all the bills may not be completed within the ordinary session, to be concluded on February 28th, but the government is ready to open an extraordinary session to consider them.

Citing the Constitution, he noted that there are 180 days for the organic bills to be promulgated, after the amendments to the Constitution.

The two organic bills are essential in paving the way for a new general election, to be held next year if the current administration completes its four-year term. The electoral changes the bills seek are the only changes approved in Parliament to date to the junta-drafted Constitution. Significant proposals to amend the Constitution seeking to enhance people’s rights, especially in the justice system, and to limit or cease the Senate’s power in selecting the prime minister have been shut down.