Charter bill goes to 3rd reading

The government’s joint committee studying the 2007 charter on Monday resolved that it would go ahead with the third and final reading of the controversial amendment bill in parliament.

The 11-member committee led by Pokin Polakul made the decision after they sought advice from five academics.

They were Gothom Areeya, the director of the Peace Studies Centre at Mahidol University, Wutthisarn Tanchai, deputy secretary-general of King Prajadhipok’s Institute, Nonthaburi senator Direk Thuengfang, Somchai Preechasilpakul, a law lecturer at Chiang Mai University, and Sombat Thamrongtanyawong, rector of the National Institute of Development Administration (Nida).    

Mr Pokin said the meeting had agreed to three issues:

1. The new charter must be endorsed by the Thai people. A referendum will be held for the public to decide whether the constitution should be amended. 

2.There must be a vote on the charter amendment bill in the third reading during the House-Senate joint sitting, but the date has not been set yet as it has to be discussed by coalition parties first. During the meeting, Mr Direk suggested that public hearings should be held on the amendments to the Constitution Drafting Assembly 2007 charter draft. This will be in line with advice from Constitution Court judges. However, he noted that considering the opinions of the individual judges, only one judge advised the bill must pass the referendum first before the amendment.    

3. Three issues that are to be revised and stipulated in the new charter are democratisation in the amendment of the charter, procedures must be in line with the principle of the rule of law and solving social inequality.   

"The working panel will submit its opinions [on the charter change] to the coalition parties in November,” Mr Pokin added.     

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