Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday said the ongoing controversy over the qualifications of anti-graft commissioners addressed a critical matter, and he would consider it when it is referred to him.
The National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) bill recently endorsed by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) allows all current NACC commissioners to remain in office, even if they are not qualified to do so under the new charter.
Some current NACC commissioners have their qualifications prohibited under the charter.
Prayut said he would consider the issue when the bill is submitted to him, but at the moment the NLA itself is still considering whether to petition the Constitutional Court to rule on the matter.
“It has not reached me yet as it’s in the NLA’s process. They can proceed with the case,” said Prayut.
Somchai Sawangkan, the NLA’s whip secretary, said some NLA members have started gathering signatures to petition the Court.
At least 55 members voted against the bill or abstained from the voting on the issue. This is more than enough to petition the Court, as it requires at least 25 NLA members to sign up to support the petition, Somchai said. He added that, at this point, the NLA would set up a panel to review the law within 15 days before forwarding the law to the prime minister.
Prayut would then have a further five days to decide whether to petition the Court, or to forward the bill for royal endorsement.
Somchai said he supported the right of members to petition against the bill, but his personal view was that the bill did not contradict the constitution.
This is because the charter says that whether to allow independent body members to stay in, or leave, office is up to the provisions of the relevant organic laws.
The current NACC members, he said, have only been in office for about a year.