Parliament rejects iLaw draft after overwhelming opposition from senators
The draft submitted by iLaw to change the Constitution was rejected in Parliament on Wednesday after senators voted overwhelmingly to oppose it. Two charter-change drafts sponsored by government parties and the opposition were passed in the first reading.
ILaw’s so-called “peoples’ draft” was the only motion supported by the pro-democracy movement, which yesterday vowed to escalate protests if it was rejected.
ILaw said only three of the 250 senators voted yes to its motion. It received 212 votes in favour,139 votes against and 369 abstentions. Senators had attacked the motion for seeking changes to Chapters 1 and 2 of the Constitution concerning the monarchy. ILaw’s draft would also have scrapped the junta-appointed Senate’s power to vet laws and vote for a new PM.
The draft submitted by government parties received 647 votes in favour, 176 of which came from senators, while the opposition draft received 576 votes, 127 from senators.
The government draft would set up a committee of elected and appointed members to write a new charter within 120 days, leaving Chapters 1 and 2 concerning the monarchy untouched.
The opposition draft requires an elected charter-drafting committee to write a new charter within 240 days, also leaving Chapters 1 and 2 untouched.
Pro-democracy demonstrators turned up in their thousands again on Wednesday at Ratchaprasong Intersection, where they besieged Royal Thai Police Headquarters and splashed paint all over its walls. Demonstrators were expressing their anger at police for using water cannon and tear gas on protesters outside Parliament on Tuesday while failing to prevent clashes with royalist counter-protesters. The violence left at least 55 injured, six with gunshot wounds.
The rally officially ended at 8pm, but many demonstrators lingered and some were still splashing paint on the wall of the Police HQ. They plan to rally outside the Crown Property Bureau on November 25, in a bid to reclaim public assets protest leaders said were transferred to HM the King by the junta-backed government.