Thailand sets budget bill meeting next week hinh anh 1A meeting of Thailand's parliament. (Photo: AFP/VNA)

Bangkok (VNA) – Speaker of Thai House of Representatives Chuan Leekpai has called for the House’s special session on February 13 to repeat the second and third readings of the 2020 budget bill to comply with a Constitutional Court ruling.

It is hoped that the last two readings can be passed within one day but more time could be set aside if needed, House secretary-general Sorasak Pienvej said on February 7 after announcing Chuan’s decision.

If the special session cannot be concluded in one day, it is subject to expansion until the entire bill passes the House, Sorasak said.

The third reading of the budget bill was passed on January 11 with 253 MPs voting in favour, none against and 196 abstentions by opposition members. However, it was learned later that the votes of some MPs had been cast electronically even though they were not physically present, resulting in the bill being referred to the Constitutional Court.

The charter court later ruled that the budget was partially constitutional but ordered MPs to vote again on the second and third readings to correct the proxy-voting error.

The budget bill will also need to go to the Senate again after it passes the lower house, but passage in the upper house will be a formality.

The 2020 fiscal year began on October 1, 2019. It had been feared that any further delays to the passage of the budget could sharply curtail government spending at a critical time when the prospects of a severe economic slowdown are rising.

The Bank of Thailand (BoT) has slashed its basic interest rate to a record low of 1 percent in an effort to shore up the economy which is hit by the novel coronavirus (nCoV) epidemic and the months-long delay in the fiscal 2020 budget bill.

In mid-December, the BoT downgraded Thailand’s economic growth forecast for 2020 to 2.8 percent from 3.3 percent predicted in last September./.