By NITIPOL KIRAVANICH,
PM not to get power to propose key bills, but unelected PM still a possibility
THE CONSTITUTION Drafting Committee looks set to go through the draft charter article by article on Thursday with some changes proposed for key controversial elements.
CDC spokesman Kamnoon Sidhisamarn said yesterday that while a clause concerning an appointment of a non-MP as prime minister would be maintained, members of the committee agreed that a requirement of two-thirds of MP votes for such an outsider must be achieved, even when a 30-day PM selection period had passed.
A provision for a mixed proportional representation electoral system has also been maintained, but CDC members agreed to increase the number of MPs from 250 to 300, while reducing the number of party-list MPs from 200 to 150.
The open-party-list system would be suspended in the meantime until an electronic voting system was adopted, Kamnoon added.
Regarding Article 181, the CDC agreed to allow opposition camps to launch a no-confidence debate. The CDC members also agreed to remove Article 182, which would have granted a prime minister authority to propose important bills.
Kamnoon said the CDC had proposed a new reform body. The Cabinet did the same last week through the National Law Assembly’s passing of constitution amendments, and he was not sure whether it was the same or a different body. This would be further worked out during the deliberation next week.
For an element concerning reconciliation, Kamnoon said the CDC found that the Cabinet’s proposal to merge two committees working on reform and reconciliation promotion was interesting, and it would consider whether it should write an organic law to support it.
Kamnoon stressed that the CDC was not perturbed by the sentiment the charter might be voted down.
“We are doing our best. We will take into account proposals and ensure that the spirit and major principles of the draft charter be maintained and acceptable for all,” Kamnoon said. He added that the CDC had to wrap up its week-long review on some key controversial elements tomorrow before being able to start the article-by-article deliberation.
In a related development, CDC member Paiboon Nititawan told The Nation that the CDC had managed to agree on some controversial points on election management. They agreed to remove a new election administration committee and leave only the Election Commission on the draft charter.
Earlier the CDC had inserted an “election administration committee” to organise elections, but some observers had voiced concern that its authority would be a duplicate that of the EC and there was no need to have a new organisation. It would direct elections of MPs, authorities in local administrations, and hold a national referendum. This would in turn reduce the EC’s power.
Former Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intrasombat strongly voiced support for this scrapping of the provision for a new election committee, saying the new system suggested a tie with some military officers from the Ministry of Defence who would sit on the committee. “We have left the system under which the military played a role in controlling an election for some time,” Nipit said.
The CDC also agreed to keep the Office of the Ombudsman and National Human Rights Commission separate. But this would come with a condition that these two organisations must form another committee to scrutinise possible interference between one another and solve problems together.