Thai constitutional court rejects provisions on role of second house in selection of prime minister

THE Constitutional Court yesterday ruled that the revised draft charter made by the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) was against the will of the August 7 referendum. An additional question in the referendum had asked voters to accept that the appointed Senate should join with the House of Representatives in selecting a candidate for prime minister during the five-year transitional period. The court wanted the charter to make clear that the appointed senators should be able to join the House of Representatives in waiving a list of PM candidates drawn up by political parties if they could not vote for any candidate in the normal process. Later, they could join them in selecting a prime minister, as revised in the charter draft by the CDC.  It also said the charter should be specific on the period of time, when there is a Parliament in place, not after an MP election as revised by the CDC. The CDC will have to bring the charter draft back and revise it again within 15 days. Promulgation of the new charter is scheduled for November, but this could now be postponed. CDC chief Meechai Ruchupan acknowledged the Constitutional Court's ruling that the Senate should also be able to join MPs in requesting to waive candidate lists proposed by parties. He did not confirm whether the ruling meant the Senate would be eligible to propose the candidates for prime minister, but said the court's announcement did not say so.


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