House passes 2020 budget bill

House passes 2020 budget bill

The House of Representatives has voted 257-1 with three abstentions to pass the 2020 budget bill, but not without a setback.

The vote on the second reading, which calls for a vote on each section, had to be redone after the meeting lacked a quorum on Section 6 on the contingency budget.

The meeting consisted of coalition MPs since the opposition earlier decided not to attend the meeting.

The members voted and approved Sections 1-31 before taking a one-hour break at 12.50pm.

During the break, Mr Chuan reportedly called a meeting with his legal team because Veerakorn Kamprakob, a Palang Prachararth MP for Nakhon Sawan, had pointed out the meeting lacked a quorum during the vote on Section 6. 

A total of 244 MPs voted on the section of the required 249, half of the existing 498 members of the House.

After the break, Mr Chuan allowed the MPs to use the voting devices of the Opposition. He told the members he was worried the problem could cause yet another delay.

After a short debate, Mr Chuan called a revote starting from Section 1 at around 3pm.

Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a member of the Budget Bill panel who sought a debate on almost all sections and had debated through Section 30, agreed to drop the request for further debate. He won applause from members for helping speed up the process.

The vote by section ended at 4.30pm. The third reading, which involves a single vote whether to approve the bill in its entirety, followed. The House voted 257-1 with three abstentions to approve it.

The Constitutional Court told the House to vote again on the second and third readings after some MPs were found to have voted on behalf of their absent colleagues.


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