First reading of Senate bill passes legislature
The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday passed first reading of the organic bill regulating the Senate.
The Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) had insisted the controversial cross-election of the senators would prevent poll fraud but said it could yield up a better method if any.
Chief charter writer Meechai Ruchupan represented the CDC to present the bill to the NLA. He said that the new election method, in which members of professional guilds would choose senators to protect their interests in the Upper House, had attracted wide attention from voters.
He went on to say that the system would allow better public participation. Also, he insisted that it had been designed to plug holes enabling election fraud in line with the new Constitution.
But if any better systems were proposed by the NLA, the CDC might not disagree, Meechai said.
NLA members could choose to accept the principles and agree that the cross-election would increase public participation. However, they expressed concern on Thursday that the approach would fail to block a connection between political parties and the Senate.
They said it was still possible that parties would field candidates to contest the spots reserved for various occupational guilds.
However, the bill was passed with 177 votes in favour, one opposed, and 10 abstentions. One legislator chose not cast a vote.
The NLA appointed 27 legislators to deliberate on the bill before the second and the third readings. The NLA has 60 days to complete deliberation of the bill.