[JURIST] Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled that a proposal by the ruling Puea Thai party to amend the constitution to make the nation’s senate fully elected is illegal. The court held [AP report] that Thailand’s parliament did not follow proper procedures for amending the constitution, saying that several lawmakers had engaged in fraud during the voting process and opposition members were not given enough time to speak during debates. Members of the Puea Thai argued [BBC report] that the amendments were necessary to restore the government’s structure before a 2006 coup. The Constitutional Court also rejected a request by the opposition to dissolve the Puea Thai party. The government has indicated that it will abide by the court’s ruling.
In April the Constitutional Court agreed to hear a challenge [JURIST report] to the process by which parliament amends the constitution. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra’s Puea Thai party attempted to amend the constitution which was drafted by a military-appointed government after the 2006 coup which forced her brother, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] into exile. In July 2012 the Constitutional Court dismissed opposition party petitions [JURIST report] challenging the Puea Thai party’s ability to amend the country’s constitution. The court ruled that the parliament could amend the constitution on a piecemeal basis by amending separate articles, but that a national referendum would be required to rewrite the entire charter.