Court motion to go to House
A motion seeking a Constitutional Court ruling on three charter amendment bills will be placed on parliament's agenda after Nov 18, Parliament President Chuan Leekpai said.
Parliament will deliberate the motion after the first reading of six amendment bills and another proposed by civic group iLaw on Nov 17-18. Mr Chuan said the parliament will also consider a bill on a national referendum for charter amendments after Nov 18. A charter amendment bill needs the support of at least one-third of the 250 senators or 84 to get through the first reading, he added. On Monday, 72 senators and MPs signed a motion to ask parliament to seek a Constitutional Court review of the three charter amendment bills, including the version sponsored by civil group iLaw which includes calls for the abolition of seven organic laws written under the current charter.
In the motion proposed by Sen Somchai Sawaengkarn and Palang Pracharath (PPRP) MP Paiboon Nititawan, the group said they were concerned the three bills, which seek to pave the way for the drafting of a new charter, may be unconstitutional. The motion was signed by 47 senators and 25 MPs, all from the main coalition party, the PPRP, who claim parliament is not authorised to "make" a new charter and the most it can do is to make changes. Any action to allow the writing of a new charter would be unconstitutional, according to the motion.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said it is best to seek clarity on the bills now rather than later. If the motion is forwarded to the court now, the charter amendment process will still go ahead pending the court's ruling, Mr Wissanu said. If the court rules against the bills, there will be time to fix the problems, he said.
Also on Thursday, a group of pro-monarchy activists gathered in front of parliament to oppose any charter amendment proposals seeking to revise provisions relating to the monarchy. The group was led by singer Haruethai Muangboonsri and academic Sattra Toaon. They alleged that the charter amendment bid was funded by foreign-based groups posing a threat to national security.