Cross-party support for new charter

Cross-party support for new charter

Calls mount for drafting assembly

Thepthai: Urged Senate cooperation
Thepthai: Urged Senate cooperation

Politicians from both the opposition and coalition have asked the government to draw up a new constitution.

Nakhon Si Thammarat MP from Democrat Party Thepthai Senpong on Saturday spoke about the results of a meeting of a parliamentary committee on charter amendment. Mr Thepthai, who sits on the committee, said all sides agreed to revise Section 256 of the constitution first to add a provision on setting up a constitution drafting assembly.

He said the committee is pushing for charter amendment which is one of the urgent policies the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration had announced to parliament.

Now the government has been in office for almost two years, it is time to draft a new constitution to defuse the daily anti-government protests being held by university students, he said.

Mr Thepthai proposed the government call on the 250-member Senate to cooperate in amending Section 256 to pave the way for the assembly.

A truly democratic charter would be an opportunity for the government to dissolve the parliament and arrange a new general election, the MP said.

Somkid Chuekong, a Pheu Thai MP for Ubon Ratchathani and deputy chief of the Opposition Whip, said the charter's main problem is it gives too much power to senators and the 20-year national strategy which he said hampered the country's development.

The opposition is expected to submit an urgent petition on constitution amendment to parliament next week.

Nikorn Chamnong, a Chart Thai Pattana party-list MP and member of the committee, agreed Section 256 should be revised first.

He said the committee agreed to urgently revise all sections on MP elections before any constitution drafters were appointed. If parliament were dissolved before they finished rewriting the charter, a new general election would be arranged in line with the revised sections.

The Campaign for Popular Democracy called on the government, House and Senate to expedite the amendment process.

The group said the charter would lead to a never-ending political crisis if it were not rewritten.

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