Opposition seeks meeting on charter
Chuan denies foot-dragging on Nov 22 debate motion
The opposition is seeking a special House session on Nov 22 to deliberate a motion to set up a committee to study constitutional amendments and a motion to form a committee to study the impacts of orders and announcements issued under Section 44 by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order.
Sutin Klungsang, the opposition chief whip and Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, said he will ask House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to convene a special House session to consider the two urgent motions.
Responding to Pheu Thai's criticism of the handling of the House agenda which had caused delays to the charter change study panel motion, Mr Chuan said yesterday he was not trying to delay the motion, and insisted that items on the House agenda that must be taken up and considered in order of inclusion.
The current House was the most efficient in managing its agenda items, Mr Chuan said, adding the House must treat all motions on the agenda equally. There are many agenda items that require acknowledgement from the House, which must take time, he said.
"Last week, it took two days to clear them. Today, seven items were included on the House agenda for consideration. It was wrong to prevent MPs from discussing these issues. But someone wanted to have motions included on the agenda as they wished. That's impossible," Mr Chuan said, taking a swipe at Pheu Thai's move to rush through the motion for the study of the proposed charter amendment.
However, Mr Chuan said if the House clears agenda items that need the House's acknowledgement today, the charter change study motion is expected to be included on the House agenda for deliberation next week.
Chinnaworn Bunyakiat, deputy government whip chief, said a meeting of government whips concluded that a House committee to study constitutional amendments will comprise 49 members; 18 representing the coalition government, 19 from the opposition, and 12 from the cabinet. The committee will be given 180 days to study the proposed changes. Addressing the possibility the Senate may be allowed to sit on the committee, Mr Chinnaworn said the cabinet will make a decision.
Deputy Prime Minister had earlier said no cabinet ministers would take part in the study of the proposed constitutional amendments. The inclusion of cabinet ministers was dropped as they may not have enough time to attend meetings, said Mr Wissanu. The exclusion of cabinet ministers would leave 12 seats vacant, six of which are expected to be filled by senators, independent agencies and the government's legal experts, while the other six seats will be taken up by individuals chosen by the government whip.