Understanding Thailand’s Constitutional Reform: Process, Politics, and Implications
THAILAND STUDIES PROGRAMME
About the Webinar
While the May 2023 general elections did not produce a government that faithfully reflects the Thai voters’ mandate, the withdrawal of military-backed elements, which had been at the forefront of Thai politics since 2014, ignited hopes for changes to the junta-drafted 2017 Constitution. This anticipated constitutional reform, however, is shaping up to be a complex and contentious process.
Under Section 256, a constitutional amendment requires not only a majority vote from parliamentarians but also the support of at least one-third of the senators. This majority must also include 20% of MPs from parties that do not hold ministerial or key parliamentary positions, such as the House Speaker and Deputy House Speakers. Furthermore, a 2021 Constitutional Court ruling has led to interpretations suggesting that up to three national referendums may be required for a constitutional overhaul: initiating the reform process, establishing and empowering a constitution drafting assembly, and promulgating a new constitution.
Yet, in light of the newly formed alliance between the Pheu Thai Party and the conservative establishment, the real challenge may lie in the political will. This alliance raises questions about the government’s commitment to genuine reform versus safeguarding conservative interests. The webinar will focus on these developments and shed light on their implications for Thai democracy.
About the Speakers
Siripan Nogsuan Sawasdee is a Professor in the Department of Government at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. She holds a Master’s Degree in Comparative Politics from Johns Hopkins University and a Ph.D. from Kyoto University.
Parit Wacharasindhu is a Member of Parliament and Spokesperson of the Move Forward Party. His main area of focus is constitutional reform, democratisation, and education, and he is currently Chair of the House of Representatives Committee on Political Development, Mass Communications, and Public Participation.
This webinar will be delivered online entirely. You can join the webinar at the specified date and time using devices (computer, phone, or tablet) with internet connection.
Please register here to receive your unique link for joining the webinar.
If you have questions for the speakers, please key in your questions via the Q&A, stating your name and affiliation. The moderator will field them to the speaker during the Q&A session.