PM still wants charter review

BANGKOK POST REPORTERS

The 2007 constitution is a key factor for the political problems the government is facing, said Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej.

Speaking before a meeting with the Police Commission, Mr Samak pointed to paragraph two of both Articles 190 and 237, saying that without these two provisions, political strife could have been avoided.

Article 237 deals with the dissolution of political parties, while Article 190 covers parliament scrutiny of agreements deemed by the cabinet to have a wide-ranging impact on the country.

His comments came after two separate court rulings on Tuesday heaped pressure on the government.

The Constitution Court ruled against the Preah Vihear joint communique, initiating an impeachment bid by a group of senators against the cabinet.

The same day, the Supreme Court ruled against former deputy party leader Yongyuth Tiyrapairat, a decision which could result in dissolution of the People Power party.

Mr Samak said he wants drafters of "the best constitution" to review the current political situation and suggest if charter changes should be considered.

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej looks contemplative as he chairs the National Rice Policy meeting at Government House yesterday. Mr Samak has vowed not to dissolve the House amid growing political tension. — CHANAT KATANYU

"I'd love to have them criticise the ongoing problems. I'd like to know if the charter should be revised," said Mr Samak.

However, he refused to talk directly about the two court rulings.

Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the Democrats are considering whether or not Mr Samak and PM's Office Minister Chusak Sirinin should be held accountable for the Preah Vihear joint declaration.

Mr Abhisit said it is virtually impossible to seek impeachment against the entire cabinet, as it is not known which cabinet ministers were present at the meeting.

However, he said the party wants to examine documents related to the joint communique and the consideration process of the cabinet to decide who was responsible.

Mr Abhisit denied that the Democrat party was against impeachment of the whole cabinet in order to maintain relationships with other coalition parties.

The Democrat leader stressed it is important to find "an intent to breach the constitution" when seeking impeachment of any cabinet ministers.

"The cabinet has obviously violated the constitution because the Constitution Court has handed down a ruling. But an impeachment requires intent," he said.