Thailand’s PM voices support for constitutional amendments
The Thai Government is supportive of attempts, by the House of Representatives, to amend the Constitution, and the Government will draft its own set of constitutional amendments for submission to Parliament, said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday.
A cross party House panel has already been formed to draft a bill to amend Section 256 of the Constitution, paving the way for wider amendments.
The Prime Minister pointed out, however, that the current parliamentary session will go into recess soon, so government and opposition parties should enter talks about what issues or sections of the charter need to be addressed.
He said that he expects that Parliament will have draft constitutional amendments, from the House panel and the Government, ready for debate when the new parliamentary session begins.
The Prime Minister dismissed the suggestion that the Government’s support for charter amendments is a result of pressure applied by recent and widespread student protests, which are demanding a new charter.
He appealed for peace and order from anti-government groups, assuring that the Government is trying to solve many pressing problems, while supporting efforts to amend the charter, adding that the Government will hold public hearings, beginning this month, to allow all stakeholders, including students, to air their views about what they want for the country and themselves in the future.
The hearings will be organized by the National Economic and Social Development Board and relevant ministries. Asked by reporters whether he will attend any of these hearings, the Prime Minister just said wait and see.
He also expressed concern over the use of impolite words and statements, deemed offensive to the Monarchy, by student activists, saying that the Government recognizes their right of free expression and to hold rallies, but wants them to respect the law as well.
“I do not intend to intimidate anyone, but I am concerned that some have crossed the line of propriety,” said the Prime Minister.