Senators 'duty-bound' to discuss budget
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Senators 'duty-bound' to discuss budget

Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said the outgoing Senate must perform its duties until the Election Commission endorses the 200 new senators.

His remark came as political pundits and senators-elect asked why the budget proposal for the next fiscal year is being reviewed by the outgoing senators -- whose terms will expire as soon as the EC endorses the winners of the Senate election -- rather than the senators-elect, who will have to answer to the public should any problems relating to the budget arise.

Mr Pornpetch on Sunday said the matter remains the responsibility of the outgoing senators, as by law, the senators must continue to serve in their capacity until the new Upper House is sworn in. The outgoing senators' term expired on May 10.

He said everyone is acting in accordance with the constitution, and noted the senators are needed to keep parliamentary affairs rolling.

For instance, he said, the Senate is supposed to review the amendments to the Administration's Measures for Prevention and Suppression of Corruption Act today, which were sent back by the House of Representatives for another review.

"The senators must carry out their function," he said.

Regarding the proposal by caretaker Senator Somchai Swangkarn to form a committee to study the Senate voting process based on Section 107 of the charter, he said he has not looked into the details yet.

Meanwhile, the EC said it is gearing up to announce the results of the Senate poll this week.

A source said the Secretariat of the Senate will organise a ceremony to welcome the 200 new senators, as well as the 100 candidates on the reserve list, on the ground floor of the parliament complex in Bangkok's Dusit district.

After the EC endorses the results, the names of the new senators will be announced in the Royal Gazette. They will take their oath of office in the first Senate meeting.

An election to find the Senate speaker and their deputy will also be organised.

The new senators will serve for five years. Unlike their predecessors, the new senators cannot join MPs in choosing the next prime minister.

They will only take part in passing legislation, approving amendments to laws and endorsing the appointment of members of independent organisations, Constitutional Court judges, and the Attorney-General.

Pornpetch: Just following the law

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