By PIYAPORN WONGRUANG,
Controversial provision for non-elected premier remains but some others dumpted
THE PAST WEEK has seen the country’s new political structure take shape with some groundbreaking provisions, including the one on a non-elected prime minister, and the removal of some other proposals.
Entering the 11th day of the article-by-article scrutiny of the draft charter, the Constitution Drafting Committee has almost completed the second section of the constitution, which concerns the country’s political structure and elements.
They have been separated into seven chapters, covering good political leadership; state policies; parliamentary system and its elements; the premiership and cabinet; the relationship among politicians, bureaucrats and the people; state budgets; and decentralisation.
The CDC yesterday decided to retain the controversial proposal for a non-elected prime minister but maintained that such a candidate must receive a two-thirds votes from House of Representatives members. If a prime minister was an elected MP, he or she must get a majority vote.
A Cabinet member must present tax records from the past three years before taking up the post.
Earlier, it decided to increase the number of MPs from 250 to 300. Primary voting must be carried out to select electoral candidates to be fielded.
The electoral system was also changed to the mixed-proportional model. Under this system, the number of party-list MPs would correlate with the number of constituency MPs. The regional-based party-list election field was also changed to a single country-based one.
For the Senate, the CDC decided that the senators must come from five different groups. The first four groups would involve a selection process among professional groups – civil servants, professional organisations, civil networks, and specialists. They would have 68 representatives in total. The fifth group, with 77 representatives, would come from an election in all 77 provinces.
CDC spokesman General Lertrat Rattanwanit on Wednesday played down concerns that the selection of senators might lack impartiality. He said the CDC had outlined principles for the selection committee so that it could maintain impartiality.
The CDC also decided to reduce the Senate’s power to sponsor bills and decided to leave it to the cabinet, ordinary people, and elected representatives.
Another CDC spokesman, Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, told The Nation that the part on parliamentary procedures remained mostly unchanged, but to introduce organic laws, the CDC decided that it needed three-fifths of MP votes so that the laws aimed at supporting the constitution could not be amended too easily.
During the first few days of deliberations on the political structure, the CDC decided to remove the introduction of a moral assembly, which was first proposed as a way to keep politicians in check. It decided to let ordinary people do that task.
For fundamental state policies ranging from environmental to consumer rights, almost all principles remained unchanged, the spokesman said.