Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha said on Monday he is going to return the controversial new MP election bill to the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) so that the body could forward it to the Constitutional Court for a verdict on the legality of certain clauses in the bill.
“I will soon send it back to the NLA so that they can petition with the court,” Prayut said.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, who is in charge of the government’s legal affairs, asked the NLA on Monday to petition the court as soon as possible so that a verdict could come out early.
He said that NLA members could immediately take the case to the court rather than waiting for the PM to send the actual bill back to them.
NLA President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai said last week that he would seek a Constitutional Court verdict regarding the constitutionality of the bill only after it was clear that Prayut had not done so and had not submitted the bill for royal endorsement.
A group of NLA members had submitted a petition to Pornpetch requesting that he seek a court ruling on the matter on the assembly’s behalf.
Their petition pointed to certain clauses in the MP election bill that could be deemed unconstitutional, according to an NLA member who signed the petition. These included a provision that would deprive non-voters of their right to become political officials, and a clause that would allow election officials to assist disabled and elderly voters in casting their ballots.
Critics have warned that those provisions could be deemed unconstitutional and cause the next election to be declared void.