House panel bars changes to two chapters

House panel bars changes to two chapters

Minority in 19-14 vote on charter issues find unlikely allies in royalists

(Bangkok Post file photo)
(Bangkok Post file photo)

Constitutional provisions on the form of government and the king may not be changed during the rewrite of a new charter, according to a member of the House committee considering the framework.

The panel voted this week on two key issues — the timeframe of 240 days for the rewrite and the ban on any changes to the first two chapters, which cover the form of government and the king, according to Rangsiman Rome, a Move Forward MP on the panel.

On the two chapters, the committee voted 19-14 in favour of the coalition government's bill, which bans any changes to the first two chapters.

Interestingly, Mr Rangsiman said, Paiboon Nititawan, a deputy leader of the Palang Pracharath Party and staunch royalist, was among the minority, but not because he wanted a free rein for the constitution rewriters.

On the contrary, Mr Paiboon didn’t like that the limit should cover only the two chapters.

In his view, any provision related to the royal prerogative should not be changed at all, regardless of which chapters they were in.

During the vote, the minority gained some surprise votes from unlikely allies who agreed with Mr Paiboon, said Mr Rangsiman, who wanted to leave everything to the discretion of elected charter rewriters.

Apart from the exclusion from changes, the committee earlier agreed to a 200-member constitutional drafting council, all of whom are elected. A province serves a constituency and the number of members each province get will depend on its population. 

The committee’s decisions are not final. A revised bill reflecting its changes will be deliberated in the second reading in a joint sitting of parliament later.


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