Push for charter change 'mired in conflict of interest
The senatorial clique known as the Group of 40 has threatened to seek judicial review in a bid to block the ruling party's push for charter change.The Pheu Thai Party has unveiled a legislative draft to amend four charter provisions, billed as a compromise to revamping the Constitution.
Senator Paiboon Nititawan yesterday stepped forward to cast doubt on the motive to amend the charter.
"I believe the proposed amendments are mired in conflict of interest, therefore the draft might not be constitutional," he said.
Article 122 of the Constitution is clear about the ban on conflict of interest, he added, explaining why the clique would petition the Constitution Court to rule on the matter.
In the draft, the ruling party would pave way for the formation of the Constitution Drafting Assembly - although the high court had ruled the CDA might not be constitutional if formed without a referendum, he said.
For other proposed changes, Pheu Thai would seek to revamp the Senate and to influence appointments in the National Anti- Corruption Commission, he said.
This would be tantamount to weakening the checks and balances, he said.
House Speaker Somsak Kiartsuranont said checks to verify the draft sponsorship would take seven days.
The draft would subsequently be put on the legislative docket and Parliament would decide in a vote whether to designate a priority, he said.
He said he had no idea if this draft would be put up for debate separately or in conjunction with the existing bill on charter change which seeks to rewrite the entire charter.
Coalition chief whip Udomdej Rattanasatien said some 248 coalition MPs were co-sponsors of the draft.
The number of senators varied from 50 to 62 for sponsoring the draft depending on the proposed amendments.
Udomdej said the House-Senate session should convene by early next month to deliberate the draft.
The proposed charter amendment draft is divided into three copies.
The first copy deals with the party dissolution clause.
The proposed change seeks to ban individuals from having direct access to the Constitution Court to initiate litigation for disbanding the party.
It also wants to revoke the five-year ban on party executives if their party is dismantled.
The second copy deals with the framework for international negotiations.
The change seeks to grant exemption to parliamentary vetting on international agreements deemed to impact economic, social and security affairs.
The third copy deals with the Senate.
The change is to do away with the system of appointed senators.
Under the proposal, the Senate would comprise 200 seats elected from constituencies drawn in accordance with the provincial boundaries. And elected senators would serve a term of six years.