A parliament committee scrutinising a bill to amend sections of the constitution relating to the Senate yesterday agreed that all senators should be elected.
The majority of the committee, comprising opposition MPs and government MPs, approved a proposed amendment to Section 111 which seeks to do away with appointed senators and calls for all 200 senators to be elected.
The proposal is based on the Senate election process used under the previous 1997 constitution.
There are currently 150 senators, with one elected from each province and the rest appointed by a selection committee.
Under the proposed amendment, the number of senators is set at 200 and they would all be directly elected.
The 200 senators will be elected nationwide with the number of senators from each province based on its population.
The majority of the committee also agreed with a proposed amendment to Section 112, which deals with the Senate election method, that will give each voter a single vote.
The committee believes the new system will be able to prevent "block votes" for multiple senators from being organised by political parties.
The amendment to Section 112 was sent to the Council of State for the proper wording before being sent back to the committee for deliberation.
The Senate election method under the 1997 charter was recognised for giving independent representatives of diverse professional groups an opportunity to become senators.
However, the committee still had different opinions on the terms of the elected senators and other requirements.
Some committee members wanted the terms to be less than six years if elected senators are allowed to serve two consecutive terms.
Democrat Party list MP Chamni Sakdiset, who sits on the committee, stressed the need to amend the charter to pave the way for all senators to be elected.
But he had reservations about doing away with the restriction barring senators from serving two consecutive terms.
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- Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa