Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020

Thai PM Prayut okays charter change, ending Senate's power to vote for premier

BANGKOK (THE NATION/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) – Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha gave the green light to amending the kingdom’s Constitution on Wednesday (Oct 28), as Parliament’s two-day special debate on the ongoing political crisis wrapped up.

Mr Prayut said he agreed with many of the points made by MPs about the crisis, but said the main thing was to support the charter amendment.

However, Parliament must follow the current Constitution, since it would remain in effect until a new Constitution is established, he added.

Charter amendment is one of three core demands being made by pro-democracy protesters.

They have also demanded the resignation of Mr Prayut and his government, and reforms of the monarchy.

Mr Prayut has insisted he will not resign but said he had no objection to “switching off” the unelected Senate’s power to vote for a prime minister.

“I agree to amend the constitution,” said the premier.

“As for the issue of senators choosing a prime minister, I don’t want to emphasise it. I have no objection to them choosing or not choosing. It’s a matter for debate in Parliament,” he said.

On another matter, Mr Prayut said the Cabinet has agreed that a reconciliation committee should be set up to find a way of resolving the ongoing political crisis.

He said the committee will be appointed by the House and will include representatives of different parties, the Senate, Members of Parliament and pro-democracy activists.

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