Coalition backs vote on charter bill

The coalition parties' working group studying amendments to the 2007 constitution has agreed to go ahead with the vote in the third reading of the charter amendment bill still left undecided in parliament, group chairman Pokin Polakul said on Monday.

  • Published: 3/12/2012 at 05:39 PM
  • Newspaper section: breakingnews

Mr Pokin said the agreement was reached at Monday's meeting of the working group.

It was agreed that it was the duty of parliament members to vote on the charter amendment bill in the third reading as required by the constitution.

The bill seeks to amend Section 291 of the constitution to make way for the establishment of a constitution drafting assembly to rewrite the 2007 charter.

Moves to amend Section 291 stopped on July 13 after opponents asked the Constitution Court to rule whether the proposed changes were part of a plan to overthrow the monarchy.

At that point, the Pheu Thai-led government backed away from deliberation of the bill in its third and final reading.

Mr Pokin said the meeting also agreed to start a campaign for the people to understand why the constitution must be amended on Dec 10, the 80th anniversary of Thailand being ruled under a constitution.

Concerning the Constitution Court's opinion that there should be a public referendum before amending the charter, the meeting was of the opinion that after the charter bill was passed in the third reading and a constitution drafting assembly set up to amend the charter, a public referendum would have to be held anyway for the people to vote whether or not to accept the new constitution draft.

As for a proposal that the charter be amended by sections, Mr Pokin said the working group thought this could be taken for consideration after the amendment bill was passed in the third reading.

Asked when should be the right time for parliament to vote on the bill in the third reading, Mr Pokin said the decision rested with the coalition parties and the government.

In his opinion, this should be done one or two months after the campaign for public support for charter amendment was launched.

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