NRC sums up 129 changes to charter draft

NRC sums up 129 changes to charter draft

Two panels of the National Reform Council (NRC) on Tuesday proposed changes to 129 points in the constitution draft, reducing its content to around 100 sections from 315.

"We want a strong government and effective checks. We propose a parallel election system in which 400 of all 500 MPs come from constituencies," said Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, chairman of the NRC's political reform panel.

The remaining 100 will be party-list MPs. The open list method, in which voters choose not only the party they like the most but also its candidates, should be replaced by the party list method used earlier, he said.

The NRC also proposed there be 154 senators, all of whom elected, two from each province.

"Their qualifications, however, should be more demanding since senators are more powerful than MPs in this charter," said Mr Sombat.

For checks, one tenths of all MPs may submit a motion to the Senate speaker to forward the case to an investigation body with seven members from independent bodies. If it is a criminal offence, the case will be decided by the Supreme Court's Criminal Division for Politicians. If it involves impeachment, the panel will forward the case to a full assembly of the Supreme Court.

The panel also scrapped Section 181, which allows the prime minister to start a confidence motion for himself. If he garners enough votes in Parliament, the opposition cannot launch a no-confidence vote against him throughout the meeting session.

It also wants to get rid of Section 182, which lets the prime minister to pass a bill by himself without the consent of parliament.

Constitution writers said earlier they inserted these two clauses to add some muscles for the executive branch as the mixed-member proportional (MMP) election system almost always resulted in a multi-party government in which the PM has to make a lot of concessions.

"A constitution should consist only the essence. It should be concise and in line with international standards. We want this charter to be used for a hundred years, not to be scrapped in the next few years," Mr Sombat said.

Seree Suwanpanont, chairman of the law/judicial process reform panel, said another proposal was to give the King a real veto power against a bill. If he does not sign it, the bill should be scrapped.

Since the rule of country was changed to constitutional monarchy in 1932, the House can enact a bill even though the King does not sign it.

 "The objective is to prevent a problem when lawmakers try to push through a law against public view," he said.

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