Some Senators voicing opposition to Amnesty Bill

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BANGKOK, Nov 5 – Many senators are openly opposed to the Amnesty Bill which is scheduled for deliberation in their chamber next Monday.

In yesterday’s Senate meeting, Uttaradit senator Naruemol Siriwat asked the House speaker if the bill would be debated in three straight readings in a single day as widely reported.

She urged senators to act with dignity, neutrality and independence on the fate on the seven-article Amnesty Bill.

The controversial legislation was passed in the third or final reading by the House of Representatives last week, sparking widespread furious reactions among some Thai people across the country, particularly in Bangkok where several civil society groups have rallied against it.

Some senators took the floor yesterday to speak against the bill granting blanket amnesty to offenders in criminal and corruption cases. Many said they preferred the original bill, proposed by Pheu Thai MP Vorachai Hema.

The original version was changed in various sections for the second reading.

Petchaburi senator Sumon Sutaviriyawat said she strongly believed the bill would stimulate more protest, and that the people are looking for a Senate reversal of the Lower House resolution.

Senators Charin Harnsuebsai from Tak and Singchai Thungthong from Uthai Thani said they intended to vote for the original bill, proposed by Mr Vorachai, but changed their mind.

Appointed senator Vicharn Sirichai-ekawat shared the pair’s opinions and said next week’s debate would determine if senators act independently.

The Senate speaker said the Upper House whip would discuss the bill’s deliberations tomorrow, but he believed it would not pass three readings in one sitting.