House Speaker cancels session on reconciliation bills, charter amendment

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BANGKOK, June 2 – House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont on Saturday decided to cancel next week’s parliamentary sessions regarding charter amendment and national reconciliation bills following recent chaos and disruption in the parliament.

Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomol said Mr Somsak decided to suspend the planned meeting on June 5 to deliberate the charter amendment and the June 6-7 sessions on the proposed reconciliation bills.

Mr Charoen said the House Speaker will call a meeting of representatives from both the government and opposition next Tuesday to find solutions, and if there is still problem with the deliberation of the reconciliation bills, other pending bills may be raised for consideration instead.

On June 5, the House was scheduled to vote on the third reading of the draft constitution amendment and consider the international cooperation frameworks under Article 190 of the constitution which stipulate that before signing any international treaties and agreements, they must first be approved by parliament.

But the vote on the third reading of the draft charter amendment could not proceed because the Constitution Court agreed to consider the legality of the draft constitutional amendment and issue an injunction to suspend the process until a court ruling, as it accepted five petitions lodged by a group of Senators and Democrat MPs challenging the legality of the draft.

The House Speaker earlier cancelled the reconciliation bills debate on Friday as yellow shirt activists of the people’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) and protesters blocked lawmakers access to parliament but were set to reconvene the House of Representatives on Wednesday and Thursday (June 6-7) to consider the reconciliation bills.

Meanwhile, Pheu Thai Party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the decision of the House Speaker could help reduce tension on the issues.

He said whether or not the deliberation of reconciliation bills can proceed soon is not a problem and the party will assign MPs to create better understanding on the bills to the public, as the drafted bills have nothing to do with returning Bt46 billion in seized assets to ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra as worried.