Parliament delays charter vote, set up panel

Parliament delays charter vote, set up panel

Protesters wait outside Parliament for the outcome of a vote on six charter amendment bills on Thursday. (Photo by Nutthawat Wichieanbut)
Protesters wait outside Parliament for the outcome of a vote on six charter amendment bills on Thursday. (Photo by Nutthawat Wichieanbut)

Lawmakers have delayed by a month the vote on six motions on charter amendments and decided to set up a tripartite panel as pressure mounted outside Parliament.

MPs and senators voted 431-255 to delay the vote and 432-255 to set up a committee at the joint sitting for the first reading on Thursday.

After the vote, Pheu Thai and Move Forward MPs walked out in protest and did not nominate anyone to the new 45-member committee.

Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat tweeted later his party did not agree with the setup of the panel to stall the process by several months. “We’re disappointed but let’s not lose hope. We’ll find another way to amend the charter.”

The remaining parilamentarians then went on to choose members of the new committee. Without nominees from the opposition, the committee consists of 31 — 15 senators and 16 MPs from coalition parties (eightfrom Palang Pracharath, four from Bhumjaithai, three from Democrat and one Charthai Pattana)

Around 1,000 protesters seeking the rewrite of the charter gathered outside, as MPs and senators debated whether to accept the bills for consideration.

The wildcards were the 250 junta-appointed senators, 84 votes of whom are needed for the bills to pass the first reading.

The protesters became anxious in the evening after the coalition proposed to the parliament president that the vote be delayed and a 45-member committee with members from the three sides — coalition parties, the opposition and senators — be set up to study the amendments.

They view the move as a stalling tactic and key protesters took turns speaking on stage about the role of senators. 

Parliament went into recess after the meeting ended at 8.30pm on Thursday. If the bills are voted down in the next meeting session from November to February, Pheu Thai, the owner of five bills, must wait eight months before it can propose them again. 

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