Amendment to election bill given one more chance

Amendment to election bill given one more chance

Parliament president Chuan Leekpai has called a special joint meeting of MPs and senators to be held on Monday, the last chance for lawmakers to review the amendment of an election bill that supports the use of the number 500 in calculating party-list seats.

Isara Seriwattanawut, a Democrat list-MP, said Mr Chuan ordered the meeting to be held on Monday -- the deadline by which the bill must be passed.

A joint sitting on Wednesday, which was supposed to be the last on the bill, collapsed due to a lack of quorum. It was an attempt to let the Aug 15 deadline pass without a parliamentary endorsement to block the change to the way party-list seats are calculated. The original draft proposed the use of 100 before the last-minute change in the second reading.

According to legal experts, if the bill is not endorsed within the 180-day deadline as required by the charter, the original version, sponsored by the cabinet and drafted by the Election Commission, will be considered approved by parliament.

Mr Isara said if the deadline passes without the bill being endorsed due to a lack of quorum again, MPs will need to explain what happened to the public.

New Palang Dharma Party leader Ravee Maschamadol, who favours the use of 500, said on Thursday that parliament has a responsibility to finish the deliberation process.

Dr Ravee said no matter what the outcome of the vote is, he will accept it. However he insisted he would ask the Constitutional Court to rule on whether using 100 to calculate party-list seats violated the current charter.

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a Seri Ruam Thai Party member, said he would petition the National Anti-Corruption Commission to investigate if there have been any ethical violations over the three collapsed meetings. He said the joint meetings of MPs and senators to deliberate the bill on July 27, Aug 3 and Wednesday all collapsed, suggesting some parliamentarians acted irresponsibly.

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