No-confidence vote defeat means new election

No-confidence vote defeat means new election

A woman walks past a wall with bas-relief engravings of past constitutions at Thai Parliament Museum at Parliament in Bangkok. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A woman walks past a wall with bas-relief engravings of past constitutions at Thai Parliament Museum at Parliament in Bangkok. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Constitution Drafting Committee on Tuesday approved a provision that will dissolve the House of Representatives if the opposition wins a no-confidence vote against the government, CDC spokesman Khamnoon Sitthisamarn said.

Mr Khamnoon said the CDC on Tuesday deliberated a chapter on parliament and MPs section by section,  and approved it in principle. Some sections are different from those in the 2007 constitution.

In regard to the termination of the House of Representatives, other than being dissolved at the end of a regular term, or by the prime minister, the provision states it can also be dissolved in the event the opposition wins in a no-confidence vote against the government.

Mr Khamnoon said the new rule on House dissolution was included because under the proposed new election system, it was highly likely the government would be a coalition.

To prevent the executive branch from being placed in a weakened position by squabbling coalition partners, it was decided that if the opposition wins a no-confidence vote, the House of Representatives would be automatically dissolved.

The CDC spokesman said this would cause the opposition to think carefully about filing a no-confidence motion and only do so if it was really necessary and the government had made serious mistakes. The opposition could choose to file an impeachment motion against the prime minister or individual cabinet ministers instead.

"Under the 2007 constitution, if the opposition won a no-confidence vote, the person nominated for [replacement] prime minister in the motion would take over the premiership and form a new government.

"However, this never happened because the 2007 charter strongly protected the government.

"With a high expectancy that the government under the new charter will be a coalition, we have to find a way  to prevent the administrative branch from being too easily brought down," he said.

Mr Khamnoon said there will be other measures to prevent parties in the coalition threatening to leave purely in order to obtain benefits from the core parties leading the coalition. These measures would be decided later, he said.

On the qualifications of candidates running for the House of Representatives, previous constitutions barred people whose assets were confiscated on being ruled "unusually rich" by the court. The new charter will add to this by also barring those who have been ruled guilty of corruption or causing an election to be unfair and fraudulent by the court, he said.

The new charter will also stipulate that MP candidates cannot run as independents. They must be members of a political party or a group.

They will be required to submit copies of tax payment records going back three years to the Election Commission.

Another requirement is that in order to be declared a winner, an elected candidate must have received more votes than the total "no votes" cast by those who do not wish to vote for any candidate on the list.

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