Thailand: Prayut says charter rewrite ‘was always a priority’

  • Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on 25 Aug 20 insisted he has no objection to amending the constitution, saying a rewrite has been on his government’s list of priorities since taking office.
  • He reiterated the point at a press briefing held after a mobile cabinet meeting in Rayong.
  • The government supports the plan to organise public hearings on proposed amendments, in order to get a better idea of which parts of the constitution need to be changed and determine the core principles which would guide the rewriting process, he said.
  • Gen Prayut said government whips and coalition parties are currently working on their own amendment proposals.
  • Meanwhile, chief opposition whip and Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, Sutin Klungsang, dismissed media reports that his party was at odds with its core partner in the opposition, the Move Forward Party, over differing opinions on constitutional amendments and the latter’s intention to grill the government in parliament.
  • “Only the section on charter amendment should be altered at this time … a new constitution drafting assembly [CDA] should be formed, which will then take care of the rest of the process,” he said after chairing a meeting of opposition whips on rewriting the charter.
  • After the meeting, Rangsiman Rome, a Move Forward Party MP, said Pheu Thai still has not given a clear answer to his question as to whether the party supports Move Forward’s plan to amend Section 272 of the charter, which deals with the senators’ power to vote in the selection of the prime minister.
  • On 24 Aug 20, Mr Rangsiman lashed out at Pheu Thai over its stance on constitutional amendment and Move Forward’s intention to seek a censure debate against the government.
  • Pradoemchai Bunchuayluea, a Pheu Thai MP for Bangkok, said Move Forward should ask itself whether it has ever listened to Pheu Thai’s suggestions.

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