By Thai Newsroom Reporters
LEGISLATION TO END the power of senators to vote alongside MPs for head of a post-election government was aborted again today (Sept 7).
During today’s joint House/Senate meeting on the legislation primarily drafted to amend the constitution’s Section 272 and endorsed with signatures of over 75,000 people in sustained effort to end the unelected legislators’ power to pick head of a post-election government alongside the elected ones, the yea votes finally came out short of half the total of MPs and senators combined to pass approval in principle for it.
Despite a lengthy floor debate launched by amendment proponents who insisted the legislative process of picking a head of government only be the business of the elected lawmakers whilst the unelected ones be kept at bay, the legislation completely failed to sail through.
Only 356 legislators, including 333 MPs and 23 senators, voted in support of the legislation, thus marking a shortage of eight votes which would otherwise have amounted to half the total of current lawmakers, accounting for 364, to sail it through the initial passage.
That compared to 253 legislators, including 102 MPs and 151 senators, who cast the nay votes against it whilst eight MPs and 45 senators abstained from voting.
Even if the yea votes had amounted to over half the total of MPs and senators combined, it would have been aborted all the same due to the inadequate number of yea votes from the unelected legislators. Such legislations need support from no less than one-third or 83 of the total of currently performing senators.
The lawmakers spent two and a half hours in a roll call to cast their votes on the people-endorsed bill primarily designed to stop the senators, all of whom had been handpicked by the 2014 coup junta under leadership of army chief-turned-premier Prayut Chan-o-cha who is currently suspended by court from performing as head of government.
Those who cast the yea votes for the aborted bill included MPs of Bhumjaithai Party and Democrat Party which are the second and third largest coalition partners respectively in addition to Pheu Thai and Move Forward MPs among others in the opposition bloc.
Those who cast the nay votes included MPs of the largest coalition Palang Pracharath Party and an overwhelming number of senators, most of which being military and police officers, either currently serving or retired.
Similar bills primarily meant to curtail the prevalent power of the unelected lawmakers had been earlier aborted as well at parliament.
Following the 2019 general election, Prayut who had not contested the race to parliament was given overwhelming votes of support among coalition MPs and all 250 senators as head of a Palang Pracharath-led coalition government.
Top: The Parliament meeting chamber with an image of the Democracy Monument overlaid. Photo: Matichon
Front Page: Suspended Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha. Photo: Matichon