The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday passed an amendment of the Sangha Act, paving the way to return power to the King to appoint the Supreme Patriarch.
The NLA took just one hour to pass the bill in three consecutive readings with a final vote of 182, and 6 abstentions.
In essence, the amendment revises the current Act by giving the monarch discretion to select the candidate for the country’s top ecclesiastical post.
Pol General Pichit Khuande-chakupt, chair of the NLA committee on religions, arts, culture and tourism, proposed the change to the 1992 Sangha Act on the grounds that the country should return to its traditions.
The meeting chaired by NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai started at 10.40am. PM’s Office Minister Ormsin Chivapruck, who oversees the National Buddhism Office, also attended the meeting.
The move could provoke protests by the monkhood as Phra Methee Dhamma-chan warned that Buddhist organisations across Thailand would stage protests if the NLA went ahead with the change to the law.