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Amended Referendum Bill to Become Law by November, First Vote Set for February

On July 4, 2024, Nikorn Chamnong, the secretary of the special House panel overseeing the amended referendum bill, announced that the revised legislation is anticipated to become law by November 2024. The first of three planned referendums on the proposed changes to the 2017 constitution is expected to take place around February 2025, following a timeline approved during the committee’s inaugural meeting.

Nikorn explained that the committee has set a clear schedule for the bill’s progress. After successfully passing its first reading, the bill will undergo a thorough review process, with the committee tasked to complete this by late August 2024. The proposed amendments to the Referendum Act 2021, which modify nine sections of the existing legislation, will then proceed to the second and third readings in the House of Representatives. This legislative process is crucial for preparing the bill for the upcoming referendums.

During the committee’s first meeting on July 3, 2024, Wutthisarn Tanchai, the secretary-general of King Prajadhipok’s Institute, was appointed as the chair of the panel responsible for vetting the referendum bill. Chaikasem Nitisiri, an adviser to Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin, was designated as the first deputy chairman of the committee. Two additional deputy chairs were also appointed to support the legislative review process.

The panel’s role involves scrutinizing the proposed amendments to ensure they meet legal and procedural standards before the bill moves forward to the next stages of legislative approval. These steps are part of a broader effort to address and potentially amend aspects of the 2017 constitution through a series of referendums that will engage the public in the decision-making process.

Nikorn emphasized that this structured approach aims to ensure that the referendum process is conducted transparently and effectively. The upcoming referendums will provide a platform for citizens to express their views on the proposed constitutional changes, marking a significant moment in Thailand’s democratic process.

The proposed changes, once enacted, will pave the way for three separate referendums designed to evaluate public opinion on various aspects of the constitution. The initial referendum is scheduled for early 2025, with subsequent votes to follow as part of the overall amendment process.

The legislative developments are being closely watched by both legal experts and the general public, as the outcomes will shape Thailand’s constitutional framework for years to come.

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