PM calls for speedy charter passage

PM calls for speedy charter passage

Govt defiant after progress concern

On the campaign trail: Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), helps Saralrasmi Jenjaka, left, campaign in the Bang Bua Ruam Jai Pattana community yesterday. The PPRP is defending the Bangkok Constituency 9 seat formerly held by Ms Saralrasmi’s husband, Sira Jenjaka, in the by-election on Sunday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)
On the campaign trail: Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, leader of the ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), helps Saralrasmi Jenjaka, left, campaign in the Bang Bua Ruam Jai Pattana community yesterday. The PPRP is defending the Bangkok Constituency 9 seat formerly held by Ms Saralrasmi’s husband, Sira Jenjaka, in the by-election on Sunday. (Photo: Pattarapong Chatpattarasill)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha urged parliamentarians to accept and pass two organic laws related to elections expected to be tabled before parliament next month, government spokesman Thanakorn Wangboonkongchana said.

The prime minister wants them to push through the Political Parties Act and the Election of MPs Act without delay, the spokesman said after a cabinet meeting on Monday.

Gen Prayut also told cabinet ministers to ready themselves for a no-confidence motion from the opposition, Mr Thanakorn said.

The amendments to the two organic laws are intended to reflect constitutional changes in the election system. The push to restore the two-ballot electoral system was royally endorsed and published in the Royal Gazette on Nov 21.

Under the changes, the number of constituency MPs would be increased from 350 to 400 while the number of list MPs would decrease from 150 to 100.

Two ballots will be used in future polls, one for choosing a constituency MP and the other for a list MP, marking a departure from the single-ballot method used in the 2019 general election.

To reflect the changes to the charter, the two organic laws governing the election of MPs and political parties will have to be amended. The process of amendment is ongoing.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Monday the two bills drawn up by the Council of State, the government's legal advisory body, will undergo a public hearing organised by the Election Commission as required by the constitution.

The hearing will take 15 days, and the bills will then be tabled before parliament next month, Mr Wissanu said, adding that other versions of the bills will also be subject to the same process.

However, Mr Wissanu said deliberation of the bills may not be completed during the current parliamentary session which ends on Feb 28.

But if the bills are accepted in the first reading before the session ends, the government can seek to convene a special session for the second and third readings, he said.

"The government has no intention to delay the bills. It stands ready to propose a special parliamentary session," Mr Wissanu said in answer to accusations the government is trying to stall the bills to remain in office for as long as possible.

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