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Parliament prioritises 10 bills before putting up reconciliation draft

The House will keep the Reconciliation Bill on its agenda but it will only be considered after 10 other bills have been debated upon, it was resolved at the first parliamentary session yesterday. The Opposition chief whip called on the government to withdraw the draft, saying that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra should first clarify her stance on what he called the "whitewash" law.

The opposition has been saying that the bill, which could provide amnesty for people charged in political incidents between September 15, 2005, and May 10, 2011, would whitewash the legal cases being faced by former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

After more than an hour of debate, the majority of the MPs - 272 - voted in support of first putting up the other 10 bills. The consideration proceedings will start next Wednesday.

The 10 bills up for consideration are drafts that have already passed the House committee's consideration such as laws on social welfare for professionals, expropriation of land in Huay Pong and Map Ta Phut districts, traditional medicine, the collection of signatures to propose a law, and the law on therapeutic medicine.

Opposition leader and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday in a broadcast on Blue Sky Channel that while the government insisted on not withdrawing the Reconciliation Bill and the draft on charter amendment, people would remain suspicious.

Pheu Thai and coalition parties on Tuesday agreed they would not withdraw the charter amendment draft, pending the third reading, from the House-Senate joint sitting. Instead, they decided to set up an 11-member committee to work out how to move on with the process.

Pheu Thai MP Samart Kaew-meechai said yesterday that the committee would consist of seven members from Pheu Thai including Bhokin Bhalakula, Varathep Ratta-nakorn, Pongthep Thepkanjana, Phumtham Wechayachai, Udomdej Rattanasatien, Peerapan Palusuk and himself.

Two members would come from the Chart Thai Pattana Party - Paradorn Prissanananthakul and Chayut Phummakanchana - while Wannarat Charnnukul will represent Chart Pattana and Sansak Charoon Ngarmpichet will represent Pha-lang Chon Party. Pheu Thai MP and red-shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn told the media yesterday that he would submit an impeachment motion against seven judges of the Constitution Court, citing abuse of discretion in ruling on the charter amendment bill.

Weng said he agreed with delaying the third reading of the Constitution amendment, saying he understood Yingluck's intention to reduce conflict.

"Passing the third reading might take some time for people to understand. However, there must definitely be a vote for the third reading," he said.

Meanwhile, Democrat spokes-man Chavanond Intarakomalyasut called on the government to let the opposition join platforms organised by the Interior Ministry to explain the charter amendments to the people.

Yesterday was the first day of the new parliamentary session. House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said only 494 MPs reported after some had resigned or been disqualified, and an MP had passed away.

The full House consists of 500 MPs.


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