Friday, July 06, 2007

Constitution approved

According to the BBC the Constitution Drafting Assembly has approved the final draft of Thailand's new constitution to go forward to a national referendum on 19th August. There will be huge campaigns on both sides to convince the electorate to vote yes or no. Former members of Thai Rak Thai see this as a backward step and as an anti Thaksin constitution.

The new 309 article charter limits the prime minister's term to eight years and makes it easier to launch impeachment proceedings. It will also prevent the Prime Minister from holding major stakes in media companies and extends financial disclosure rules to the entire Cabinet and Parliament.

Parliament itself will be slightly smaller. Seats in the House of Representatives are reduced from 500 to 480 and in the Senate from 200 to 150. However nearly half of the senate members will be appointed by a special committee rather than being elected!

The government appears to be threatening that there will be no elections unless the referendum approves the constitution (logical I guess). According to The Nation the Defence Minister Boonrawd Somtas said "The general election can take place only if the new constitution passes the referendum, otherwise political turmoil will never end."

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