Thai royalist group submits 130k signatures opposing charter amendments
The Thai Pakdee royalist group submitted a list of 130,000 signatures, from people who oppose any changes to the current Constitution, to the speakers of the House of Representatives and the Senate Wednesday morning, as a joint sitting began debating constitutional changes, as proposed by the Government and Opposition.
A protest letter and the list of signatories were received by Supachai Somcharoen, the Deputy Speaker of the Senate.
According to Dr. Warong Dechgitvigrom, former Democrat MP and a leader of Thai Pakdee, the 2017 Constitution was approved by 16.8 million people in a referendum, so there is no need for any changes, adding that the entire process, which requires two referenda and a general election, after there is a new charter, will cost 15 billion baht of taxpayers’ money.
On Wednesday, the pro-democracy iLaw group submitted a list of over 100,000 signatures, from people supporting its version of constitutional amendments.
iLaw’s proposed amendments include the Prime Minister not being an “outsider” and elected by MPs, all senators and local administrators must be elected and the restructuring of the selection of members of independent organizations.
Amending or rewriting the Constitution will require the support of at least 84 of the 250 senators, who are roughly divided into three groups. About 60 favour constitutional amendments, about 100 oppose any changes and the remainder are undecided.
Senate whip Sangsit Phiriyarangsan said he believes the Senators who oppose any amendments do not represent the majority of the Senate and he expects that several of them may vote in support of the changes after hearing the debate in Parliament today and tomorrow.
An informed Senate source said that it is likely that most senators will oppose amending Section 256, to pave way for the creation of the Constitution Drafting Assembly to write a new charter, but will support the amending of the charter section by section.