Move Forward aims to ‘turn off Senate switch’ in charter motion

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The Move Forward Party holds a press conference at the parliament on Wednesday, announcing its stance on charter amendment. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)
The Move Forward Party holds a press conference at the parliament on Wednesday, announcing its stance on charter amendment. (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

The Move Forward Party has set a target to limit or even shut down the role of the Senate once the charter amendment motion goes before the parliament, taking a more radical stand than other opposition parties in pushing for constitutional change.

Secretary-general Chaithawat Tulathon said on Wednesday the party would not give up in its efforts to curb or even bring a complete end to the role of the Senate once the charter rewrite issue enters the parliamentary process.

The party would vote for the motion in the first reading, but would press for changes to the upper house during the second stage reading, he said.

Move Forward decided to opt out of the move by other opposition parties, led by the Pheu Thai, on Monday after the opposition camp agreed to file a motion to revise only Section 256 of the constitution, which would open an opportunity to set up an assembly to draft a new charter. 

Move Forward wanted to add to the motion the need to amend the sections on the role of the Senate, and also called for the amendment of the first two sections.

“The Move Forward Party will propose a motion to turn off the senate switch, because that is the heart and soul [mechanism] for the coup makers to hold on to power,” Mr Chaithawat said. The party also still had reservations about the first and second sections of the constitution.

The first two sections involve the role of the monarchy.

Move Forward’s decision to withdraw support for the charter amendment motion has put the party at odds with Pheu Thai, which is concerned the charter amendment motion could fail without support from senators.

The motion leading to the charter rewrite needs the support of the Senate in all three readings.

Both parties claim their stance is a reflection of the wishes of the public.

Mr Chaithawat said on Wednesday that students and other people had already shown their opposition to the present role of the upper house.

But Pheu Thai strategist Wattana Muangsook posted a Facebook message the same day saying that  Pheu Thai was acting in the interests of the people.

“We did not criticise the Move Forward Party over its decision,” he wrote, referring to it opting for more extensive changes.

“The Pheu Thai Party has the right to honour its words and principles to ensure the best interests of the people.”

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