Bangkok to amend Constitution to contain protests

The Senate, controlled by the premier's military allies, will be deprived of the power to elect the prime minister. However, democracy protesters want Prayuth's resignation and a review of the king's role. The former general ready to create a "reconciliation committee" to calm dissent.

Bangkok (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has given the go ahead to amend the Constitution, which will deprive the Senate - controlled by the military – the power to elect the prime minister.

The decision came yesterday at the end of a special session of Parliament, convened on October 26 to respond to the demands of the pro-democracy movement.

For more than three months, thousands of young people have been demonstrating almost every day demanding the resignation of Prayuth, a democratic constitution and a review the role of the sovereign, considered excessive in a constitutional monarchy like Thailand.

The premier is the primary target of the protests. A former commander-in-chief of the army, who came to power in 2014 with a coup, he has been leading a civilian executive since last year, but his critics accuse him of having a tailor-made the Constitution approved in 2017 and rigging the elections that have decreed the formal end of the military junta.

The Senate, made up of 250 members chosen by the Armed Forces, is a sort of political "lifesaver" for the coup leader.

In an attempt to resolve the crisis, highlighted by the pandemic emergency, Prayuth said he was ready to create a "reconciliation committee", made up of representatives of all political forces, parliamentarians and democratic activists.

However, the premier's move may not be enough to calm the democratic movement, which is demanding his resignation. According to a poll published on October 25 by Suan Dusit University in the capital, more than 62% of respondents say that the protests erupted primarily out of discontent with Prayuth.