MFP backs Pheu Thai on 2 charter referendums
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MFP backs Pheu Thai on 2 charter referendums

The Move Forward Party (MFP) has voiced support for Pheu Thai's proposal to hold two referendums on charter amendment and insisted that members of a charter drafting assembly must be elected.

Parit Wacharasindhu, a Move Forward list-MP and party spokesman, said on Tuesday that the party agreed with deputy Pheu Thai leader Chusak Sirinil, who suggested that only two referendums should be enough.

The MFP also agreed with Pheu Thai's call for a charter drafting assembly to comprise elected members, though the parties still have different opinions on the drafting assembly's power to amend Chapters 1 and 2 of the charter, Mr Parit said.

Chapter 1 contains sections defining Thailand as a single, indivisible kingdom with a democratic regime with the King as head of state, while Chapter 2 stipulates sections pertaining to royal prerogatives.

He said that the parties must join hands to convince senators and some parties in the coalition to support the move to amend Section 256 of the constitution to allow the formation of the new assembly without the need to hold a referendum first.

Mr Parit said that some senators insist that any proposed charter amendments must be put to a vote in a referendum before they can be tabled to parliament.

Mr Chusak earlier said that Pheu Thai's working panel on charter amendment has concluded that only two referendums should be held as this will help save money and time.

The proposal to revise the military-sponsored 2017 Constitution, which was one of the ruling party's election pledges, is listed as a priority issue for the coalition government.

The referendum is a thorny issue thanks to a 2021 Constitutional Court ruling that the public must approve any move to amend the entire charter. If a rewrite is approved, another referendum must be held to approve the content.

The government previously set up a committee to draw up new guidelines for holding a referendum to find common ground on how the 2017 Constitution should be amended.

It is chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Commerce Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.

Mr Phumtham's panel recently approved a proposal to hold three charter amendment referendums and decided that only one question would be asked in the first.

The question will be whether or not voters agree with the proposal to amend the charter, except Chapters 1 and 2.

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