December 27, 2023
BANGKOK – Senator Somchai Sawangkarn has aired opposition to the proposition of writing a new charter, saying it will not be worth spending 10.5 billion baht on conducting related public referendums.
Speaking at a Senate meeting on Tuesday, Somchai argued against the need for a new charter, saying that the current Constitution had already garnered 16 million votes in a previous public referendum.
According to Somchai, the process of drafting and enacting a new constitution would necessitate three separate public referendums, each incurring a cost of approximately 3.5 billion baht, which will add up to 10.5 billion baht.
These estimated costs do not include the salaries of some 475,000 officials, compensation for members of the new Constitution Drafting Assembly and payments for their support staff.
Factoring in these expenses, Somchai said another 15.7 million baht or more would be needed.
While campaigning for votes, Pheu Thai had promised to enact a fully democratic people’s charter. It also promised to keep the first two chapters on the type of government and monarchy untouched.
However, Somchai contends that 27 other articles in other chapters refer to the power of the King, so it would be impossible to draft a new charter without touching on royal powers.