NRC dissatisfied with new Senate composition, more open to non-MP premier

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BANGKOK, 5 May 2015 – The National Reform Council (NRC) has agreed that the composition of the Senate as stipulated in the new constitution should be changed, but it is now more accepting of the provision allowing for the appointment of a non-MP Prime Minister.

NRC Whip Alongkorn Polabutr said provisional discussions with NRC members revealed a unanimous desire to revise the new composition of the Senate. Members have agreed that Senators should be drawn from a wider range of professions. In addition those who would be derived from the provincial level should be directly elected by their constituents, doing away with the committee that would select provincial Senators. Furthermore, they agreed that provincial Senators need not be members of a political party.

Mr Alongkorn revealed that after the Constitution Drafting Committee agreed to tighten restrictions on the circumstances allowing for a non-MP Prime Minister, NRC members have become more open to such a provision. They said such a scenario should however be kept for times of political crisis when a person outside the Parliamentary sphere could help diffuse a political deadlock.

The NRC Whip further disclosed that NRC members hold differing opinions regarding the system of electing Members of the House of Representatives. He said many have expressed doubt that the new system would achieve its goal of preventing vote buying.

Moreover, members are also divided on whether the new Reform Mobilization Committee should consist of members of the NRC and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), as many fear the committee would be criticized as being a vehicle designed to extend the power of the NRC and the NLA into the new government.