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03-06-12, 03:55 PM #11
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Re: MPs brawl in unity bill chaos
Reds urged to fight for stalled bill
THAKSIN CLAIMS POWER GRAB HAS BEGUN
Published: 3/06/2012 at 02:20 AMNewspaper section: News
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra heightened political tensions Saturday by urging his red shirt supporters not to accept what he referred to as another attempt to usurp power from the people.
TRUTH SATURDAY: Thousands of red shirt supporters cheer as they listen to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra address them via a video link at Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi. The red shirts celebrated the fifth anniversary of their television programme Truth Today Saturday. PHOTO: APICHIT JINAKUL
In a fiery speech to red shirts gathered at the Thunder Dome, Impact Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi, Thaksin said the Constitution Court's suspension of the charter amendment bill debate was an attempt to destroy the government.
"Are you going to let them steal our power again?" he said via a video link from an undisclosed location.
"We cannot trust the situation now since they still won't play by the rules.
See also: Pheu Thai blasts Constitution Court
"I had earlier thought reconciliation would happen soon, but it won't."
The red shirts were attending an event to mark the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship's fifth anniversary of their television programme Truth Today.
UDD leaders took the stage to attack the charter court's order and the opposition to the reconciliation bills led by the Democrat Party and the yellow shirt People's Alliance for Democracy.
Thaksin said the Constitution Court's order for the House to suspend vetting of the charter amendment bill marked a new effort to take power back from the people after the 2006 coup that toppled his government.
The charter court on Friday resolved to review complaints over whether the bill was constitutional.
The judges ordered parliament to suspend the deliberation of the bill, scheduled for a third and final reading on Tuesday.
"It now depends on the House speaker [Somsak Kiatsuranont] whether he will follow or defy the court's order," Thaksin said.
He said some people were trying to destroy the Pheu Thai-led government, which had been working hard for the people.
"They should know that hurting Pheu Thai means hurting the Thai people who chose us," Thaksin said. He insisted the 46 billion baht seized from him after the coup had been legally obtained.
The coup-appointed Assets Scrutiny Committee's investigation led to the Supreme Court ruling in 2010 to seize the money after finding the former premier had abused his power to benefit his family's telecom business.
"I had 86 billion baht worth of assets before I entered politics, but they stole 46 billion from me," Thaksin said.
The delay in considering the bill was confirmed by Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomon and House of Representatives secretary-general Pitoon Phumhiran Saturday.
On Friday a large number of the bill's opponents rallied outside the parliament, claiming it was intended purely to help Thaksin return home a free man and recoup the 46 billion baht in seized assets.
Government chief whip Udomdej Rattanasathien denied Pheu Thai was trying to push the bill through in haste.
Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit Saturday said postponing this week's House session showed the ruling party was willing to take its time.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reiterated in her weekly talk programme Saturday that national reconciliation procedures should be ironed out in parliament.
However, she maintained the people's opinions must be considered.
"No one wants to go with what society can't accept," Ms Yingluck said.
The PAD Saturday announced it had cancelled a protest set for Tuesday, but told its yellow shirt supporters to be on standby.
The multi-coloured shirts group also put off a Tuesday gathering but vowed to regroup immediately if the bill is put beore the House.
04-06-12, 05:29 AM #12
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Re: MPs brawl in unity bill chaos: Thaksin urges Reds to fight for bill
Charoen threatens to defy order
Jaturon says injunction is start of coup d'etat
Published: 4/06/2012 at 03:00 AMNewspaper section: News
Government MPs are likely to defy the Constitution Court's order for the House to suspend deliberations on a charter amendment bill by proceeding with the last reading of the measure this week.
Deputy House Speaker Charoen Chankomol, of the ruling Pheu Thai Party, said yesterday he expected the House to proceed with the third and final reading of the bill to amend Section 291 of the constitution on Friday.
He said his legal team has concluded that the court's order had no binding effect on parliament.
The Constitution Court last Friday ordered the House to suspend debate on the bill until after the court rules if the attempt to amend Section 291 violates Section 68 of the constitution.
Several groups petitioned the court late last month to intervene in the charter change process under way in parliament.
The groups claimed that a section of the amendment bill authorising the formation of a constitution-drafting panel to write a whole new charter was tantamount to overthrowing the constitutional monarchy and acquiring administrative power unconstitutionally.
They said Section 68 of the constitution prohibited such actions and that any political party making such an attempt can be disbanded and its executives banned from politics for five years.
Mr Charoen said the House and Senate will meet on Friday and they may consider whether the court's injunction has any effect on parliament.
He said he did not expect any opposition from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) as it was more concerned with the reconciliation bills which the yellow-shirt group fears might seek to whitewash the crimes of ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.
Mr Charoen said the House has decided to postpone deliberating the reconciliation bills to ease political tensions and would instead consider other laws, such as the anti-money laundering bill.
PM's Office Minister Woravat Au-apinyakul said the government would not propose a royal decree to close the ongoing parliamentary session for the time being.
He said lawmakers would have to consider other legislative proposals and would need to pass at least the first reading of the anti-money-laundering bill.
That legislation is aimed at getting Thailand removed from the blacklist of the Financial Action Task Force _ an intergovernmental organisation founded in 1989 by the G7 nations to develop policies to combat money laundering and terrorism financing.
The current parliamentary session was originally scheduled to end on April 18, but the government has extended it indefinitely to push ahead with the constitutional amendment bid.
Jaturon Chaisaeng, former acting leader of the disbanded Thai Rak Thai Party, said the court's order to suspend parliament's deliberations of the amendment bill was tantamount to a coup d'etat.
Mr Jaturon said the court was attempting to topple a popularly elected government in the same way it did with the governments of Samak Sundaravej and Somchai Wongsawat.
"Please be aware that the coup has started, so we should oppose it now," Mr Jaturon said.
He also accused the court of violating the constitution. He said the constitution authorised parliament to amend the charter. "The court is violating the separation of powers," Mr Jaturon said. "This is tantamount to taking over power to change laws and taking the constitution from the people.
"This means destroying the chance for society to solve conflicts and differences of opinions through a democratic process."
The court's order had no effect on parliament and he urged government MPs to defy it.
Meanwhile, Nipit Intarasombat, Democrat MP for Phatthalung, and Wirat Kalayasiri, a party legal expert, insisted the constitution was the highest law of the land and it stipulated that all organisations had to obey the orders of the Constitution Court.
Mr Wirat said Deputy House Speaker Charoen could face a possible jail term if he ordered the House to conduct a third reading of the charter amendment bill.
He said Mr Charoen's remarks were an attempt to test the waters and that Thaksin, the de facto leader of the Pheu Thai Party, had ordered him to do so.
Assoc Prof Parinya Thewanarumitkul, deputy rector of Thammasat University, said the amendment to Section 291 of the constitution was in line with the procedures laid out in the constitution, so even if it leads to a whole new charter, it will not be considered an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy.
The court should dismiss the complaints against the charter amendment right away to avoid a conflict between it and parliament, he said.
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