Local news

Revived call for end to senators’ power to pick PM kicks off

By Thai Newsroom Reporters

A REFRESHED MOVE got started today (Jan. 10) for all parties and people to endorse a revived call for an end to the senatorial power to pick a post-election prime minister.

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, director of Rangsit University’s Centre for Political Research and Development, launched the move for all parties either with or without MPs and members of the public to sign up a massive petition to revoke the constitutional power of the unelected senators to vote for head of a post-election government alongside elected MPs as had been the case of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha following the 2019 general election.

Palang Pracharath Party, currently led by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan, successfully named Prayut as head of government consisting of several coalition partners with this party being the largest.

Somchai began his move today with Thai Liberal Party led by former police chief Seripisut Temiyavej and is opening a cellphone application for the people nationwide to sign up for it online during a three-month time as of January 17.

Such a petition calls for amendment to the 2017 constitution’s Section 272 governing what was largely viewed as the undemocratic roles of the senators, all of whom were handpicked by a military junta following the 2014 coup under the leadership of the then-army chief Prayut.

The former election commissioner maintained that only the people-elected MPs be constitutionally empowered to pick a post-election premier as far as democratic rule is concerned.

He said an initial list of 50,000 signatures of the people may be attached to the petition which is to be submitted to parliament seeking the end to the senators’ premier-picking power before the three-month time elapses though many more are expected to join at a later date.


Somchai Srisutthiyakorn with a carved representation of a palm-leaf manuscript box holding the Thai Constitution of 1932 at the Democracy Monument, top, and alone, Home Page. Top photo: Matichon Weekly, Home Page photo: Matichon

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