Referendum Bill: There’s No Possibility that Protesters will Join the Proposed Reconciliation Committee

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After Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha signed it, a bill on national referendums is on its way to parliament for review. The bill is deemed appropriate for the procedure of amending the charter, which would require at least one plebiscite.

Anucha Burapachaisri, the government spokesperson, shared that the bill is being forwarded to the president of parliament to place it on the agenda after cabinet approval.According to Mr. Anucha, the object of the bill, which is consistent with the process of a public hearing under Section 77, is to ensure public involvement in the modification of the Charter.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, the government’s authority on legal affairs said that it was possible to scrutinize the referendum bill along with the proposed Charter change. MPs and senators will jointly discuss the draft legislation. A legislative vote is pending on six distinct charter reform proposals, although another version drafted by the civic society, iLaw, is set to be tabled this month before lawmakers.

In late September, the impetus behind the charter amendment ground to a stop after legislators agreed to set up a special committee to review proposed constitutional amendments and thereby postpone voting. Mr. Wissanu claimed that a single issue would be raised to the public initially, which is whether they comply with the change to the Charter.

It is possible to add other questions, but the process must conform with Section 166 of the constitution. Amendments to Chapter 1 containing general provisions, Chapter 2 dealing with the empire and Chapter 15 dealing with constitutional amendments, including Section 256, are among the amendments involving a referendum.

A referendum also includes amendments to provisions relating to the credentials and powers of representatives of autonomous organisations, such as a temporary section requiring the Senate to join MPs in voting for a PM. He indicated that whether they deal with controversial topics or matters in which the government has a vested interest, a politically neutral commission should be set up to deliberate on more questions.

In view of this, Section 166 makes it possible for the cabinet to suggest a question to be asked in a referendum, but it does not authorize one to be held on a topic that clashes with the constitution or includes persons or groups of citizens.

It is considered appropriate that the current national reconciliation committee should be asked to consider new issues that could be required for the referendum and to express them. Morever, A vote on the reform of the Charter is impossible to be held concurrently with the polling of the regional administration organization on the 20th of December.

Related Article: https://www.theasianaffairs.com/thailand/2020/10/15/charter-panels-determination-one-referendum-will-push-through/

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