NRC’s Sombat concerned that Section 182 of draft charter could cause conflict

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BANGKOK, 24 April 2015 – Prof Sombat Thamrongthanyawong of theNational Reform Council (NRC) spoke of the progress of the NRC’s deliberation of the draft constitution, saying the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has agreed to some of the NRC’s proposals, but is still concerned that certain provisions would lead to future conflict.

According to him, the CDC has agreed to review Section 173 of the draft charter regarding the qualifications of who can assume the premiership, given many NRC members have expressed disagreement with allowing for a non-MP to be appointed Prime Minister.

However, Prof Sombat said he is still concerned over the CDC’s firm stance on Section 182, which he fears could spark a political crisis.

Section 182 gives the Prime Minister the authority to propose emergency legislation that would be considered automatically passed if there is no majority opposition in Parliament within 48 hours. The CDC argued that the provision is designed to provide the government a channel to swiftly pass important legislation in the event of gridlocked Parliament.

Prof Sombat warned that the Prime Minister could use the power granted by Section 182 to pass partisan legislation that may be controversial, such as an amnesty bill.