Although both government-sponsored draft amendments passed their first reading yesterday, it was not parliament at its best
Puea Thai MPs surround colleague Kitti Somsap, centre, after he was forced to return to the chamber shortly after leaving to see a dentist. Mr Kitti was named to a committee to vet constitution amendments without his knowledge. CHANAT KATANYU
This is a rather long story but everything has been covered in detail in the Thai language media, including newspapers, radio and, of course, television. If you have followed that coverage you should be able to understand the story quite easily – and learn quite a bit of English vocabulary as well.
Govt bills proceed amid chaos
Angry Puea Thai MPs boycott vetting panel
Two government-sponsored constitution amendment drafts have passed their first reading, but only after parliament erupted in turmoil when the opposition Puea Thai Party opted out of further involvement.
After a lengthy debate, the joint sitting of parliament last night set up a 45-member committee to scrutinise the two drafts within 15 days before resubmission to the joint session of parliament for a second reading.
One of the drafts seeks to change the voting system to single-MP constituencies and increase the number of MPs while the other concerns Section 190 covering parliamentary endorsement for international treaties.
The second reading is expected in February when parliament reconvenes. The present session will end on Sunday.
The passage of the government drafts came after the joint sitting of parliament rejected two other drafts – one backed by the Puea Thai Party and the other by a group of 102 coalition MPs.
These two drafts failed to receive the required support of 311 votes.
MPs and senators spent long hours mired in noisy protest and taunts over the draft seeking to change the electoral system.
A commotion started after the vote on the third draft when opposition MPs suspected something was amiss and called for a new round of voting.
The number of votes monitored by government, opposition and senate representatives did not add up.
Parliament president Chai Chidchob agreed to set up a committee to examine the vote count. The first reading was declared passed with support from 330 MPs and senators. A total of 156 lawmakers rejected it and 34 abstained.
After the draft's passage, the government proposed a 24-member committee be set up to vet the bill.
The Puea Thai Party refused to name representatives to the committee after the draft it supported was voted down. Several of its MPs started leaving the chamber.
Chaos erupted when Piyarat Muensaen, a Puea Thai MP for Roi Et who defected to the coalition Bhumjathai Party, named several Puea Thai MPs as committee members. His move sparked an outcry from Puea Thai members who claimed Mr Piyarat was not in a position to make the announcement.
Mr Chai intervened and allowed Mr Piyarat to complete the nomination of the committee members. Jeers and boos prompted Mr Chai to call a 10-minute break.
After the recess, Puea Thai MP Kitti Somsap, who was absent when he was nominated, asked to be withdrawn from the committee and requested that action be taken against Mr Piyarat who did not return to the chamber.
Mr Chai told the parliament he would instruct Mr Piyarat to withdraw the names and urged those who were unhappy to file a complaint with the Constitution Court.
The joint sitting then moved to vote on the fourth draft which seeks to amend Section 190 involving parliamentary approval of any treaty to be signed with another country.
The draft was passed last night with the support of 354 lawmakers.
The joint sitting then underwent another lengthy process to set up a 45-member committee to scrutinise the bill. The joint sitting voted to cancel the 24-man committee which was set up earlier out of concern it would be a breach of the constitution. It then set up a 45-member panel to vet both of the government-sponsored drafts.
surround – to be everywhere around something ล้อมรอบ
colleague – someone who works in the same organisation or department as you do เพื่อนร่วมงาน
chamber – one of the sections of a parliament ห้อง ห้องประชุม
vet – to examine something in order to decide if it is allowed ตรวจสอบ
amendment – a change made to a law or agreement, in this case, to the constitution การแก้ไขกฎหมาย ในที่นี้หมายถึงการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ
bill – a proposal for a law ร่างกฎหมาย
proceed – to continue as planned ดำเนินการ
amid – at the same time as ท่ามกลาง
chaos – a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess ความยุ่งเหยิง, ความสับสน
boycott – to refuse to take part in an activity or to buy a product as a way of expressing strong disapproval คว่ำบาตร
panel – a group of people who make decisions or judgments คณะกรรมการ
draft – something, in this case a written proposal for changes to the constitution, that may be changed before it is finished ร่างกฎหมาย
erupt – to start suddenly ปะทุขึ้น
turmoil – a state of uncontrolled activity การจราจล ความไม่สงบ
the opposition – the political party or parties that are not part of the government ฝ่ายค้าน
opt out – to decide not to take part in something or to stop taking part in it เลือกออก
debate – a discussion in which people or groups state different opinions about a subject การอภิปราย, การโต้วาที, การถกเถียง
joint (session, sitting) – a meeting of both Houses of Parliament, i.e., the House of Representatives and the Senate การประชุมร่วมกันของสมาชิกจากสองสภา
scrutinise – to carefully examine ตรวจสอบอย่างละเอียด
submit – to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา
resubmit – to submit a second time
session – a formal meeting of an institution such as a parliament or a court การประชุม
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
endorsement – official approval การรับรอง
treaty – a written agreement between two or more countries formally approved and signed by their leaders ข้อตกลง, สนธิสัญญา
reconvene – to start meeting again เปิดประชุมใหม่
reject – to not agree with ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ
back – to support สนับสนุน
coalition – a temporary union of different political parties that agree to form a government together พรรคร่วมรัฐบาล
mired – caught in an unpleasant situation that you cannot easily escape from ซึ่งตกอยู่ในสถานการณ์ยุ่งยาก
protest – a strong complaint or disagreement การประท้วง
taunt – shouting cruel things at someone in order to make them angry or upset การพูดส่อเสียดเสียดสี
commotion – a sudden short period of noise, confusion or excited movement ความสับสนวุ่นวาย
suspect – to believe that something is true, especially something bad สงสัย
amiss – likely to cause difficulties or problems ไม่ถูกต้อง, ไม่เหมาะสม
monitor – to regularly check something or watch someone in order to find out what is happening ตรวจสอบ ตรวจตรา
declare – to announce officially that something is true or happening ประกาศ
abstain – to decide not to use your vote ไม่ออกเสียง
propose – to suggest an idea for a group to consider เสนอ
refuse – to say you will not do something that someone has asked you to do ปฏิเสธ
defect – to leave a political party, organisation, or country and go to another one ย้ายพรรค
spark – to make something happen ก่อให้เกิด
outcry – a strong expression of anger and disapproval about something, made by a group of people or by the public การคัดค้านอย่างรุนแรง
intervene – to become involved in a situation in order to try to stop or change it แทรกแซง สอดแทรก
nomination – an official suggestion that someone should get a job การเสนอชื่อเข้ารับตำแหน่ง
jeers – shouting or laughing at someone in an unkind way ตะโกนด่า เสียดสี
boos – expressions of strong disapproval or disagreement คำอุทานแสดงการเหยียดหยามการไม่เห็นด้วย,โห่ฮิ้ว
prompt – to cause someone to take action กระตุ้น
recess – stopping what you are doing for a short period of time การพักwithdraw –to stop taking part in something ถอนตัว
urge – to advise someone very strongly about what action or attitude they should take ผลักดัน, กระตุ้น, วิงวอน ย้ำเตือน
file – to take official action like making a complaint ยื่นคำร้อง
approval – official permission การอนุมัต
undergo – to experience a process of change เผชิญกับ, ประสบ
concern – a worry ความกังวล
breach – a failure to follow a law or rule การละเมิดกฎหมาย