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PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments
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    PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments


    (BangkokPost.com) - People Power party (PPP) held an annual meeting on Saturday at the party headquarters, with an agenda to discuss the amending of the 2007 constitution and related laws to do away with rules on party dissolution.

    Poll fraud cases involving executives of the Matchimathipataya, Chart Thai and PPP parties could lead to dissolution under the 2007 constitution and its organic laws.

    Prime Minister's Office Minister Chusak Sirinil, who is PPP secretary-general, said the matter is urgent and said he is not worried if PPP is perceived that the amendments are aimed for the benefit of his party because the government comes from election.

    Deputy PPP leader Kan Tiengkaew said the country cannot progress if the three parties are dissolved as all of the politicians under the parties will be affected by the dissolution.

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    Rewrite the charter


    Prime minister Samak Sundaravej said on Sunday he wants to review and amend the entire 2007 Constitution, possibly replacing most of it with sections of the 1997 People's Constitution scrapped by the military junta.

    If possible, said the prime minister, he would amend the entire 2007 charter, except for the chapter governing the monarchy institution.

    Speaking during his weekly television and radio programme, Mr Samak said the process to change the charter should compare the present Constitution with the scrapped 1997 law, and keep only necessary articles from the current charter.

    Additional articles would be inserted, he added.

    He made the comments after People Power Party or PPP members agreed at the party's annual convention on Saturday on plans to push for amendments to the Constitution. Details would be discussed again at a meeting scheduled for Tuesday.

    The 1997 charter, known as the People's Constitution, was abrogated following the bloodless Sept 19, 2006, military coup which toppled the elected government of prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

    Mr Samak, said he would favour a complete rerwrite so long as it was possible to hold a referendum on a new constitution for less than 500 million baht.

    "The process should start straight away if the majority of the people want to amend it. But if the expenditure (for a referendum) is high, say two billion baht, then it would be too much," said Mr Samak.

    Recent elections in Thailand have been typically budgeted at two billion baht, a sum critics suspect is too much.

    The premier also charged the military-sponsored 2007 Constitution was promulgated with the aim to dump a "single person from politics" but this person was still alive while attempts were still being carried out. He presumably meant Mr Thaksin.

    Plans by the government to amend the constitution have been deplored by several senators and former charter writers, as they claimed the proposed amendments would benefit the ruling PPP.

    The PPP, Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya parties all face possible dissolution because of political fraud by party executives - a punishment just brought into Thai law by the 2007 constitution. (BangkokPost.com, TNA)

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    Charter change 'urgent'

    BangkokPost.com
    The government insisted on Monday that it must amend the 2007 constitution before "some people" use loopholes in the document to destabilise the government.

    With Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej in Hanoi on an official visit, PM’s Office Minister Jakrapob Penkair took the lead for the government, saying the entire constitution will be reviewed and then amended, using the 1997 People's Constitution as a model.

    Mr Jakrapob denied the move to amend the charter was aimed at sparing the People Power, Chart Thai and Matchimatipayaya parties from potential dissolution.

    PPP spokesman Kuthep Saikrachang told reporters he was confident the public would back the urgent government attempt to amend the constitution, because the 1997 charter would serve as a model.

    He also dismissed a suggestion made by Prime Minister Samak on Sunday to hold a referendum to approve the amended charter. The cost would be too high, he said.

    Interior Minister Chalerm Yubamrung jumped into the controversy as well. He claimed that it was urgent that the government amend the constitution, because it was a campaign promised made by PPP before the election of last Dec 23.

    Mr Kuthep felt the government could control any political opposition to the move. "If all parties concerned comply with democratic principles, there will be no violent confrontation."

    Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the constitution should be amended but cautioned the government against trying to change the articles dealing with political party dissolution.

    "All parties were fully aware of these articles but their members still defied them," Mr Abhisit said. "Executive members of any political party should be held responsible for wrongdoing of party members."

    Chief whip Chai Chidchob opposed that. He told reporters it was an "urgent matter" to amend an article in the charter that says a party must be dissolved if one of its executives is found guilty of electoral fraud.

    Mr Abhisit also demanded that any amendments be done openly.

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    This letter that appears in today's "Bangkok Post" precisely sums up my viewpoint. Thank you Colin !

    Bid to amend charter

    So now the pollies are scrambling frantically to change the Constitution that threatens to derail the PPP and their cronies on the grounds of electoral fraud, no less, because, according to Khun Anongwan of Matchimathipataya party, "It was written by people who wouldn't use it. And people who use it, like us politicians, didn't have a chance to write it."

    Hang on a minute! The definition of a Constitution is "(a written document which forms) the set of political principles by which a state or organisation is governed, especially in relation to the rights of the people it governs."

    Nowhere is there the suggestion that it is to be written for, or "used" to the benefit of, the politicians!

    What gives these clowns the notion that they can unilaterally move the goal posts every time they stumble into something that doesn't benefit them, or might slow them down, in their quest for gold?

    The Constitution, and indeed the country itself, is owned by the Thai people. All of them! Let's hope that they collectively wake up to that fact before even more of it is in the hands of but a few.


    COLIN

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    interesting.
    i love their politics.
    sooo much thing happening.
    thanks.
    If You Can't Say "I'LL DIE IF I DON'T DO IT" Then You Shouldn't Do It.....

    THAI ENTERTAINMENT REVIEW.

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    PPP split over call to repeal coup amnesty

    Ministers from the People Power party (PPP) voiced conflicting opinions yesterday on whether the 2007 constitution should be amended to lift immunity for persons acting under the interim charter promulgated after the 2006 coup. Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said he disagreed with calls to amend Article 309 of the present constitution.

    The idea was raised at a meeting of PPP executives on Wednesday to discuss amending the current constitution.

    Article 309 legitimises all acts under the interim 2006 constitution and all related acts including the 2006 coup.

    Arguments surrounding the article concern the status of the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC), which the coup makers set up to investigate corruption allegations against the Thaksin administration.

    Mr Noppadon said that although in principle the people who had abrogated the 1997 constitution should not be pardoned, the Article 309 issue should not be raised at this point, otherwise, as it could foster further political problems.

    ''Let bygones be bygones because the nation is moving forward and needs compromise and reconciliation,'' Mr Noppadon, who is a former lawyer of ousted prime minster Thaksin Shinawatra, said.

    However, he said he did support attempts to amend the present charter to get rid of its non-democratic aspects and obstacles to government stability.

    However, PM's Office Minister Chusak Sirinin said Article 309 should be revoked. Anyone accused of wrongdoing should defend themselves through the judicial system, not a system developed under the power of a coup, he said.

    The clause that permanently protects actions under the interim charter violates the rule of law and should be amended, Mr Chusak said.

    Democrat and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday warned Chart Thai party leader Banharn Silpa-archa to prioritise the public interest when it comes to constitutional amendments.

    Through the press, Mr Abhisit asked Mr Banharn whether the rule of law could exist if people in power managed to amend the law just to protect their colleagues.

    Realising that the Chart Thai party is facing possible dissolution, Mr Abhisit said that, without constitutional amendments, Chart Thai could still defend itself in the Constitution Court.

    Executive members of coalition parties Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya were disqualified for buying votes in the last election. The parties face the prospect of dissolution by the court if their executive boards are found guilty of conspiring with election fraud.

    Key members of the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) yesterday urged people to join it in opposing constitutional amendments. Their statement claimed the amendments were aimed at whitewashing Mr Thaksin and his associates.

    Sondhi Limthongkul said the nation was facing its worst crisis as bandits became MPs and were trying to amend the law to erase their wrongdoing.

    Pibhop Dhongchai said attempts to amend Article 237, which refers to the dissolution of political parties, showed that the executive and the legislature were undermining the judiciary.

    The article allows the Constitution Court to disband any political party that cheats in an election.

    The PAD urged the judiciary to speed up its electoral fraud cases. It also encouraged people to show up and support its movement at a political discussion it is holding at Thammasat University tomorrow evening.

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    PPP split over call to repeal coup amnesty

    Ministers from the People Power party (PPP) voiced conflicting opinions yesterday on whether the 2007 constitution should be amended to lift immunity for persons acting under the interim charter promulgated after the 2006 coup. Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said he disagreed with calls to amend Article 309 of the present constitution.

    The idea was raised at a meeting of PPP executives on Wednesday to discuss amending the current constitution.

    Article 309 legitimises all acts under the interim 2006 constitution and all related acts including the 2006 coup.

    Arguments surrounding the article concern the status of the Assets Scrutiny Committee (ASC), which the coup makers set up to investigate corruption allegations against the Thaksin administration.

    Mr Noppadon said that although in principle the people who had abrogated the 1997 constitution should not be pardoned, the Article 309 issue should not be raised at this point, otherwise, as it could foster further political problems.

    ''Let bygones be bygones because the nation is moving forward and needs compromise and reconciliation,'' Mr Noppadon, who is a former lawyer of ousted prime minster Thaksin Shinawatra, said.

    However, he said he did support attempts to amend the present charter to get rid of its non-democratic aspects and obstacles to government stability.

    However, PM's Office Minister Chusak Sirinin said Article 309 should be revoked. Anyone accused of wrongdoing should defend themselves through the judicial system, not a system developed under the power of a coup, he said.

    The clause that permanently protects actions under the interim charter violates the rule of law and should be amended, Mr Chusak said.

    Democrat and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday warned Chart Thai party leader Banharn Silpa-archa to prioritise the public interest when it comes to constitutional amendments.

    Through the press, Mr Abhisit asked Mr Banharn whether the rule of law could exist if people in power managed to amend the law just to protect their colleagues.

    Realising that the Chart Thai party is facing possible dissolution, Mr Abhisit said that, without constitutional amendments, Chart Thai could still defend itself in the Constitution Court.

    Executive members of coalition parties Chart Thai and Matchimathipataya were disqualified for buying votes in the last election. The parties face the prospect of dissolution by the court if their executive boards are found guilty of conspiring with election fraud.

    Key members of the anti-Thaksin People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) yesterday urged people to join it in opposing constitutional amendments. Their statement claimed the amendments were aimed at whitewashing Mr Thaksin and his associates.

    Sondhi Limthongkul said the nation was facing its worst crisis as bandits became MPs and were trying to amend the law to erase their wrongdoing.

    Pibhop Dhongchai said attempts to amend Article 237, which refers to the dissolution of political parties, showed that the executive and the legislature were undermining the judiciary.

    The article allows the Constitution Court to disband any political party that cheats in an election.

    The PAD urged the judiciary to speed up its electoral fraud cases. It also encouraged people to show up and support its movement at a political discussion it is holding at Thammasat University tomorrow evening.

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    PPP agrees to an extensive rewrite of charter

    The ruling People Power Party (PPP) yielded on Friday to pressure from its leader, Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, for extensive amendments to the Constitution.

    The PPP meeting agreed to amend the charter on many issues, including the provisions in Article 237, party spokesman Kuthep Saikrajang said.

    He said the charter changes could pave the way for a move to seek amnesty for the 111 banned executives of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party, including exPM Thaksin Shinawatra.

    PPP meeting on Friday assigned PM's Office Minister Choosak Sirinan, the party's chief legal adviser, to form a team to prepare the draft amendments. The party was expected to file an urgent motion in April for the House deliberation of the draft and might call an extraordinary Parliamentary session if necessary, according to the spokesman.

    The amendment process was likely to take about three months, he said.

    On Monday, the government whips coordination committee, which is dominated by the PPP, resolved to seek amendment to Article 237.

    The clause allows a political party to be dissolved at an order of the Constitution Court if its executives are found to be aware of or abet electoral fraud committed by a party election candidate.

    Prime Minister Samak earlier yesterday pushed for extensive amendments to the Constitution, saying that it was written with the hidden goal of undermining the People Power Party.

    "The Constitution has been used not only as a trap for the political party they hate, but also as a tool to weaken people in this party. They want to kill the party," Samak said, referring to people he claimed to have pulled strings behind the charter writing.

    He said the attempt to "kill the party" continued even after the People Power won the general election and formed the government.

    Samak said he would tell his colleagues in the People Power Party the amendment would not involve only one clause.

    "When it comes to changes, we will have to make as many changes as possible. This is not selfishness. We will just do it for the sake of the country," he said after the weekly Cabinet meeting.

    The prime minister said that most of his Cabinet colleagues from the coalition parties agreed with him that changes should not involve only on section of the charter.

    The premier said there would be no public referendum about charter amendments as the expected cost of Bt2 billion would be too costly. And he would not dissolve Parliament after the amendments.

    In a related development, the opposition Democrat Party yesterday resolved in a unanimous vote that it was against the bid to amend Article 237 as "it was obvious that the move was aimed at selfserving interest," said deputy party leader Banyat Bantadtan.

    House Speaker Yongyuth Tiyapairat, who is also a People Power executive, has been at the centre of legal proceedings that could result in the party being dissolved. The Election Commission (EC) disqualified him as an MP and is seeking a Supreme Court endorsement for its decision.

    If given endorsement, the EC is required by law to forward the case to the Constitution Court in order to rule whether the People Power should be disbanded.

    Samak yesterday defended Yongyuth, saying he was framed for the electoral fraud charges and that people were hired to wrongly implicate him.

    Meanwhile, EC member Prapun Naigowit yesterday ruled out the allegation that the agency was bent on destroying the ruling People Power Party by citing the electoral fraud as a pretext.

    "There is no written script nor conspiracy to fault any party and the EC is doing its job strictly in accordance with the law," he said.

    Prapun was reacting to remarks by coalition leaders raising concern on the leeway to dissolve a party.

    Although it was up to political parties to decide whether to amend Article 237 of the Constitution, this provision on party dissolution was nothing new as it was enforced since the suspended 1997 Constitution and its organic laws, he said.

    The leeway allowed under the present charter was about the party's linkage to the fraud, he said, adding that not every case of campaign violations linked to the party would lead to disbandment.

    The Nation

    He said the EC would not link its work to the ongoing move to amend the charter.

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    CONSTITUTION

    Govt picks 5 articles it wants to amend
    PRADIT RUANGDIT


    The government whips' panel reviewing the constitution has resolved to amend five articles, including the controversial Article 309, which legitimises all actions under the interim 2006 charter and all related acts including the 2006 coup.

    The panel has recommended the repeal of all of Article 309, and amending parts of Articles 237, 190, 266 and 163, some of which are deemed too restrictive on the government and on politicians.

    The proposed abolition of Article 309 would allow individuals affected by the Sept 19, 2006 coup to seek a judicial review of the Council for National Security's orders and announcements.

    ''Frankly, Article 309 is written from the view of constitution writers based on the experience from the era of the National Peace-Keeping Council (NPKC) in 1991,'' said Prime Minister's Office Minister Chusak Sirinil, who is in charge of the amendment process.

    ''Under the rule of law, it is unfair, so the article is subject to amendment to give anyone accused of wrongdoing a chance to defend themselves through the judicial system,'' he said.

    ''Article 309 is meant to prevent the accused from defending themselves.''

    Mr Chusak admitted the proposed amendment to Article 309 would also pave the way for an amnesty for the 111 banned executives of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai party. However, they had the right to defend themselves and the Council for National Security's announcements were unconstitutional, he said.

    The proposed review of Article 237 would ensure that political parties could not be easily dissolved and their executives would not be punished for acts they did not commit, he said.

    Mr Chusak said the principles of party dissolution, which stipulate that a political party could be disbanded if found to have attempted to overthrow a democratic regime or to acquire power unconstitutionally would remain intact.

    The panel agreed to revise Article 190, which requires the government to disclose to parliament or the public the details of key international deals.

    He said if details of certain contracts were made public before signing it would put the country at a disadvantage.The proposed changes to Article 266, which restricts the involvement of MPs with government agencies, would make sure that MPs could work to help their constituents, he said. The article is widely viewed as obstructing MPs' roles in helping the people, according to Mr Chusak.

    Former charter drafter Prasong Soonsiri warned that revoking Article 309 would also nullify the general election.

    Bangkok Post

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    Re: PPP meets to discuss constitution amendments

    'Rewrite it all'

    (BangkokPost.com)

    Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej said on Tuesday the whole 2007 constitution should be amended.

    Mr Samak said he is confident that chaos will not arise as a result of the charter amending process. He described altering the constitution as a "common practice".

    He also indicated the changes will be made by the government, approved by the parliamentary majority - without a public referendum.

    Last August, the military junta then in charge of the country conducted a nationwide referendum said to cost two billion baht. It was the first referendum ever held for Thailand, which has had 17 constitutions since the abolition of the absolute monarchy in 1932.

    Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Suebwonglee confirmed that the ruling People Power party has passed a resolution to amend the entire charter.

    He said the decision of the party will be forwarded to the five coalition parties next week for further discussion. Their support will be necessary for parliament to approve the amendments.

    He added that it is still unknown how long the process will take.

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