No deliberation on reconciliation bills as Parliament session opens: House Speaker

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BANGKOK, July 26 – House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont reaffirmed today that the proposed reconciliation bills will not be raised for deliberation when the House ordinary session opens next month.

The House Speaker made the remark after Yellow Shirt activists of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) threatened to rally unless the reconciliation bills now before Parliament are withdrawn within seven days.

In late May House Speaker Somsak cancelled a scheduled House session on the national reconciliation bills scheduled for June 6-7 following chaos in Parliament and street protests by many groups opposing the bills who claimed that they were crafted to benefit ousted ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra rather than the public.

Mr Somsak said, as the House session is scheduled to open Aug 1, the controversial bills will not be raised for deliberation as the discussions among concerned parties could not reach a conclusion as to whether the bills should be withdrawn or postponed in order to hear opinions from all parties.

Regarding the consideration of the third reading of the charter amendment draft, the House Speaker said Parliament is waiting for the release of an official ruling of the Constitution Court.

“Personally, I think that the charter amendment should be done article by article to avoid any future problem,” Mr Somsak said.

Another option, Mr Somsak said, is that the vote on the third reading could proceed after a referendum in accordance with the Constitution Court ruling.

Mr Somsak earlier cancelled parliamentary sessions regarding amending the charter and considering the national reconciliation bills following chaos and disruption in Parliament.

On June 5, the House was scheduled to vote on the third reading of the draft constitution amendment but the vote could not proceed because the Constitution Court agreed to consider its legality and issued an injunction to suspend the process until it rules on the measure.

The Constitution Court on July 13 voted unanimously that there were insufficient grounds to support the complainants regarding alleged attempts to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.

The court however said the constitution could be amended article by article and advised that a referendum should be held on whether to rewrite the whole charter or not.