Constitution Court to rule on legality of two executive decrees

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BANGKOK, Feb 22 – Thailand’s Constitution Court is scheduled to rule at 2pm today on the constitutionality of two executive decrees allowing the government to borrow Bt350 billion in loans and to transfer the debt of the Financial Institutions Development Fund (FIDF).

 

Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister Kittiratt Na Ranong represented Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to defend the two decrees in testimony at the Court on February 15 while opposition Democrat party list MP and former finance minister Korn Chatikavanij and Senator Kamnoon Sitthisamarn have given information on their petitions to the Court for the interpretation of the two decrees.

The two executive decrees involve permission for the government to seek a Bt350 billion loan to finance water management and flood rehabilitation projects and the other one is regarding the transfer of the FIDF’s debt from the Finance Ministry to the Bank of Thailand.

The government has reiterated that the decrees were needed to restore confidence in Thailand after the flood crisis last year.

Mr Kittiratt earlier said that the Bt350 billion loan would be spent on water management projects along the Chao Phraya river basin and the transfer of the FIDF’s debt would help ease the government’s fiscal burden.

Meanwhile, the opposition has questioned the urgency of the decrees, as the government has enough budget and time to propose the loan decree through the legislative process to the House of Representatives.

The transfer of FIDF’s debt was criticised as government interference with the Bank of Thailand.

Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said earlier that the party would accept whatever ruling the court handed down.

In case the court rules that the two decrees are against the country’s constitution, he said, the government would push them through standard parliamentary procedures as bills.

However, the process prior to the House’s approval is likely to delay the implementation of the government’s flood-prevention projects.