Constitutional amendment bill aborted by Thai lawmakers

BANGKOK (XINHUA) – Thailand’s legislation on constitutional amendment was aborted by members of Parliament (MP) and senators on Wednesday.

Following a nine-hour debate during a joint House and Senate extraordinary session at the parliament, most lawmakers managed to abstain from casting votes, thus aborting the charter amendment bill.

In a third reading of the bill, only 208 legislators including two senators, mostly being in the Pheu Thai Party-led opposition bloc, voted for it while at least 369 votes are needed to pass the bill.

An overwhelming majority of 520 lawmakers, being government MPs and senators, practically put an end to the long-delayed amendment bill, as they chose either to abstain from casting their vote during a two-hour roll call in the chamber of Parliament or to simply avoid the roll call by staying outside the chamber.

Last week, the Constitutional Court ruled that the legislative branch has the duty and authority to amend the charter on condition that a public referendum be conducted twice in order to precede and follow the amendment process.

The process would have been otherwise run by a Constitution Drafting Committee, all 200 members of which would have been otherwise elected by constituents nationwide.