Move Forward submits bill seeking elections for all governors

Move Forward submits bill seeking elections for all governors

A constitutional amendment proposal seeking elections for provincial governors was submitted to parliament on Monday by the Progressive Movement and the Move Forward Party (MFP) as part of their administrative reforms campaign.

Core group member Pannika Wanich and MFP communications and policy manager Parit Wacharasindhu handed over the proposal along with a list of 80,000 supporters to House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.

The proposal, which was received by Phongsri Tharaphum, one of Mr Chuan's staff, seeks changes to Chapter 14, to allow people outside Bangkok and Pattaya to also elect their governors.

Currently, governors outside these two areas are appointed by the Interior Ministry and form the centralised bureaucracy. Critics believe this approach hinders the decentralisation of power and stalls local development.

The Progressive Movement, which is an ally of the opposition MFP, spent three months gathering support for the charter amendment proposal.

Ms Pannika said the proposed charter change would put an end to centralised bureaucracy and give local people more say in resource and budget management.

She said the central government would not be able to impose laws that violate people's livelihoods or pass legislation without their insight.

"These changes unleash the potential of the provinces," she said.

She said the three-month campaign was a success and the group gathered a total of 80,772 supporters all of whom were verified. Some who signed up did not meet the legal age and had to be dropped from the list, she said.

The group had thought it would have difficulty explaining why the changes were needed, she said.

"But the theme of the campaign helps get the message across. People understand we're proposing a legal amendment to allow people to choose their top executives," she said.

Mr Parit said that besides direct elections of governors, the proposal seeks to allow local bodies a free hand in the management of public services and infrastructure and give them more budget.

He called on MPs and senators to see the proposal as people-sponsored and embrace it in the same fashion as the Marriage Equality Bill that promotes civil unions between people across all genders.

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