Thai congressional reform process to begin

thai congress reforms
Photo: EPA

Thailand’s congressional reform process is expected to begin today.

Parliament will meet to debate 14 charter amendment bills submitted by both the government coalition, headed by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), and opposition parties.

A key proposal to watch is the amendment of Section 272 of the 2017 constitution, which would remove the continuing power of the Senate to have a say in the election of the next prime minister.  The Senate’s support is critical to the outcome of the next general election, which currently favors the re-election of former General Prayut Chan-o-cha. Whilst General Prayut’s popularity is only at 18%, the PPRP has 250 military appointed Senators on its side.

Because the Senate can oppose charter amendments, expect the proposal to reach a dead end.  Instead, the PPRP will likely retain leadership, with General Prayut expected to push for the dissolution of parliament and call a snap election to cement his power. Without the necessary constitutional reform allowing for a more pluralist political system, Thailand’s economy will likely continue to worsen under the PPRP. In the long-term, significant economic decline could provoke a further reliance on Chinese Belt and Road Projects for foreign direct investment.

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