NLA passes final readings of MP election bill and Senate selection bill

The National Legislative Assembly (NLA) on Thursday (March 8) passed the House of Representatives election bill and the Senate selection bill.

The MP election bill received 211 votes with seven abstentions whereas the Senate selection bill sailed through the NLA with 202 supporting votes against one opposition and 13 abstentions.

Eight amendments were made to the MP election bill during the scrutiny period by a tri-partite panel comprising representatives of the NLA, the Election Commission and the Constitution Drafting Committee.  

The amendments include the adjustment of voting period from 7 am-5 pm to 8 am-5pm; no entertainment activities during election campaigning; individuals or officials at polling units can vote on behalf of disabled or elderly voters; voters who fail to vote will be deprived of the right to contest an MP election or election of local administrators such as village heads or kamnan; candidates of the same parties will be designated the same numbers throughout the country.

For the Senate selection bill, one of the amendments is on the change of the number of the groups of candidates to contest the selection from 20 to 10.

The two bills will be submitted to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and, if within five days after the acceptance of the bills by the premier, no parties ask for either or two of the bills to be sent to the Constitutional Court for interpretation, the bills will be forwarded to His Majesty the King for Royal approval within 20 days.

Gen Singsoek Singprai, a member of the NLA, said after the NLA’s passage of the two organic bills that the election roadmap would not be affected even if either of the bills are to be forwarded to the Constitutional Court for interpretation.

He said he didn’t think opponents of either of the bills would be able to muster up to 25 votes to take the case to the court.