Dates set for charter debate, vote

Dates set for charter debate, vote

Parliament will convene for the second reading of charter amendment drafts on Feb 24 and 25, it was announced on Tuesday.

The decision was made after House Speaker Chuan Leekpai met with chief government whip Wirach Ratanasate, of the Palang Pracharath Party, and chief opposition whip Sutin Klungsang, of the main opposition Pheu Thai Party.

The meeting was scheduled to consider adding extra days to debate charter amendment drafts to compensate for the two-week suspension of parliamentary sessions as a result of the recent uptick in Covid-19 cases.

The joint meetings on Feb 24-25 will see MPs and senators hear proposed amendments to Section 256 of the charter, which will pave the way for the creation of a charter-drafting committee.

The second and third hearings on the national referendum bill will take place on March 17-18, followed by the all-important vote on the proposed amendments.

The bill is crucial to the process, as any changes to the constitution must be approved through a referendum.

Parliament adopted two charter amendment bills on Nov 18 last year, one by the governing coalition and the other by the opposition.

It also ditched a draft by the civic group Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (iLaw), which had been proposed after a petition signed by about 100,000 people.

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