Prospect of another charter rewrite delay raised by PPRP
A senior member of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) is proposing a new step be taken that could see the charter amendment process drag on even longer.
Citing a precedent set by the Constitutional Court's ruling in a similar case, the PPRP's deputy leader, Paiboon Nititawan, said a referendum would be needed if there was a proposal to amend the entire constitution. If so, a study should first be held on whether to stage the referendum, he suggested.
His remark, however, raised concern that the amendment process, which has not yet started, would be a drawn-out affair.
Only last week MPs were about to vote on whether to begin work on the amendment but opted instead to appoint a House committee to study the details of the proposed changes. The committee will spend a month doing its work before the parliamentary debate resumes.
The decision to appoint a committee sparked an outcry among opposition MPs and critics who slammed the government for overwhelmingly supporting it, and accused it of using the committee as a delaying tactic.
Mr Paiboon on Wednesday insisted the possibility of a referendum also needed to be considered.
If the amendment affected the whole charter, it must be put to a referendum ... and there needs to be a study on that matter as well, he said.
His suggestion of yet another study seems certain to ramp up the pressure on the government, which is already under fire from protesters demanding a speedy charter rewrite and House dissolution.
Mr Paiboon said the "30-day committee" would invite sponsors of the six motions submitted to parliament to initiate the charter amendment process.
Only one motion is owned by the government; the rest by opposition parties.
The six motion sponsors will be asked to speak to the committee about the reasons for their amendment proposals.
Government whip chief Wirach Ratanasate has been named chairman of the 30-day study committee.
Six deputies were also chosen: Senator Mahannop Detwithak, Mr Paiboon, Bhumjaithai Party MP Supachai Jaisamut, Democrat Party MP Chinnaworn Bunyakiat, PPRP MP Wichian Chaowalit and Chartthaipattana Party MP Nikorn Jamnong.