Thailand: Charter change debate begins

  • The parliament on 17 Nov 20 opened a debate on bills to amend the constitution, with a vote expected on 18 Nov 20 evening, while a group of activists gathered outside the building to oppose any change.
  • Lawmakers from both the House and Senate will vote if the parliament accepts any of the seven constitutional amendment bills submitted for deliberation.
  • Parliament President Chuan Leekpai said he did not expect any obstruction to the parliament’s consideration of the charter change bills.
  • Six separate drafts of a new charter were previously submitted by MPs from both the coalition government and opposition camp, and then debated extensively by MPs and senators in late Sep 20.
  • However, a vote was postponed due to a proposal by a group of senators and government MPs to form a panel to study the drafts.
  • The seventh draft, proposed by civil group Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw) and initially supported by 100,000 people, has been assured of getting its fair share of debate time after clearing the verification process.
  • Three of the seven drafts, including iLaw’s version, seek changes to Section 256 of the constitution in order to pave the way for a charter drafting assembly to be set up.

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