Draft bills on elections of MPs, senators to NLA next week: Pornpetch

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has been informed by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) that two organic bills on the election of MPs and the acquisition of senators will be forwarded to the NLA for deliberation next week, NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholachai said on Thursday (Nov 23).

The two draft bills–on the election of MPs and the acquisition of senators — are the last of the four organic bills required to be put in force before a general election can be called.

The first two bills–one on political parties and the other on the Election Commission–have been passed into law by the NLA and now in effect.

On Nov 23, the NLA continued with the deliberation of the bill on the Constitutional Court procedures. Many contentious points in the bill were debated–one of them is whether or not the current Constitutional Court judges should continue to perform their duties.

The Constitutional Court has nine sitting judges. Four of them have yet to complete their terms, while the terms of five judges have ended but they are still working under the order of the National Council for Peace and Order.

After hours of debate, the NLA members voted unanimously to pass the bill.

Regarding the transitory provision on future of the nine judges, the NLA resolved that the four judges would retain the positions until their terms expired, while the five judges, whose terms already ended, would continue working until new judges are sought.

On problems over the draft bill on water resources management, Mr Pornpetch said the draft is still being studied by a committee and there is not yet a plan on when to forward it to the NLA for deliberation.

The most questionable point in the draft bill is the requirement for people who use water from public sources of water to be taxed.  This has drawn heavy criticism from members of the public who say farmers would stand to be affected.  The draft bill also requires the prime minister to chair the national water resources committee to oversee the overall water management.

In another development, NLA vice-president Surachai Liangboonlertchai informed the meeting that the NLA now has 248 members, after the resignation of Gen Chanchai Changmongkol on Nov 17.