Thailand’s Amnesty Bill and the procedural hurdles ahead
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Thailand’s Amnesty Bill and the procedural hurdles ahead

House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont has issued an urgent letter calling for the House of Representatives to meet on  October 31 for the second reading of the Amnesty Bill. This moving up on the agenda of the second reading doesn’t mean that the law coming into force is imminent. There are a number of procedural hurdles to overcome, some of which will delay the Bill longer than others.

First, while the government’s chief whip has stated to the House that the second reading of the amnesty bill will only take place over 2 days (October 31 and November 1) with the third reading to the be held on November 2, an MP from the opposition Democrat Party has already announced Democrats MPs are looking to debate (at length ?) the second reading. This may slightly delay by a day or two if an extension to the debate is allowed, but not by long.

Second, the bill has to pass the Senate. The Senate has up to 60 days  to finish consideration of the Amnesty Bill (See Section 146).

Third, after the bill has passed the House and the Senate, the Democrats only need one-tenth of the members of MPs or Senators to challenge the constitutionality of the bill. Unlike for draft constitutional amendments, the bill is suspended once the constitutionality is challenged (see Section 154).This could take weeks if not months depending on the Court.

BP: So while parliament debating the second reading is imminent, the likelihood of the law entering into force (aside from protesters and other issues) within the next 3 months seems unlikely given the procedural issues ahead.