Wheels in motion for Thai Constitution

The first page of Thai Constitution with the iconic symbol of democracy. (Photo: Matichon Online)

The coalition government has finally approved a motion that sets the 2017 Thai Constitution to be revised. Bangkok Post reported today that a panel of 200 members is being formed to monitor the process.

The panel will consist of 150 nominated writers, including senators and academics, whilst the student body will be permitted to appoint their 50 representatives.

According to sources, the panel will have 8 months to prepare a primary draft, which will be reviewed by government advisers and then submitted to the parliament for approval. Should the draft be disapproved by the parliament, a referendum will be held to decide its outcome.

Student-led anti-government protests have been going on nationwide since mid-July, demanding for constitutional reform, dissolving the parliament and calling for a new election.

The opposition parties have previously submitted their motion to revise the constitution including the Senate’s controversial issue, whose fate is yet to be decided.

The senators were all selected appointees from the NCPO, an organisation formed by the Thai Army following the 2014 military coup. Senators, all of whom were not constitutionally elected by the people, have benefitted extensive powers, including the right to opt for a new prime minister.

The Move Forward Party is in favour of abolishing the Senate’s exclusive authorities. However, it is expected from the coalition members to support the motion of leaving the Senate’s supremacy in its present status, which contradicts with the Democrat Party’s favour of limiting its influence.

The announcement made by PM Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha has bought him some time to illustrate acts of good faith, conciliating the student protester’s demands, and supporting the constitutional reform demanded by the opposition.

Sources: The Thaiger | Bangkok Post