Race against time for iLaw charter draft
Supporters of a constitution amendment bill proposed by civil group iLaw are now crossing their fingers that their draft will be approved for deliberation during the next parliamentary session.
Parliament president Chuan Leekpai on Tuesday insisted he had asked staff handling the verification of the estimated 100,000 names of supporters of the iLaw draft to hurry up and get it done within the 45-day time frame set for this task.
When the supporters' names have been verified, they will be revealed for public scrutiny, said Mr Chuan.
He wasn't yet sure if the verification could be done in time for the iLaw draft to be debated with six others tabled for the next session -- that depended on how long the verification process took, he said.
So far, about half the iLaw names had received initial verification, said Sukit Atthopakorn, an adviser to the parliament.
The next step, he explained, involved forwarding approved names to the Department of Provincial Administration to check if all were eligible voters. Officials would then need to contact the people involved and double-check that they had really signed their names in support of the iLaw draft.
Rames Ratanachaweng, secretary to Mr Chuan and a Democrat Party spokesman, said the discussion that had already begun about charter amendment bills proposed by other political parties wouldn't affect the iLaw draft as it appeared to be based on a different principle.
MPs and senators last week approved a proposal to set up a committee to study six charter amendment bills.
The vote on whether to accept the six bills in the first reading has been postponed by one month. Student activists and demonstrators gathered outside parliament and expressed anger with the resolution, believing it to be a delaying tactic, and pledged to step up their protests.