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Old 24-02-2012, 02:56 AM   #426 (permalink)
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^ Wannabe black shirt?
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Old 24-02-2012, 02:58 AM   #427 (permalink)
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Photo from Getty Images


Getty Images 13 hours ago
An anti-government protester holds the official Thai constitution book during a rally outside the parliament building in Bangkok on February 23, 2012. Thailand's ruling party has proposed a controversial plan to amend the country's constitution, which was drafted after a 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra from power.

Photo from Getty Images


Getty Images 13 hours ago
An anti-government protester (C) holds the official Thai constitution book during a rally outside the parliament building in Bangkok on February 23, 2012.

Photo from Getty Images


Getty Images 13 hours ago
A small group of ''Red Shirt'' protesters rallies outside the parliament building in Bangkok on February 23, 2012.
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Old 24-02-2012, 10:26 AM   #428 (permalink)
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Govt will not delay charter debate - The Nation

Govt will not delay charter debate

Kornchanok Raksaseri
The Nation February 24, 2012 1:00 am



WTF is that picture all about?
A picture paints a thousand words.
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Old 24-02-2012, 12:34 PM   #429 (permalink)
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^ yeah, and they said the reds were so peaceful
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Old 24-02-2012, 08:09 PM   #430 (permalink)
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"Getty Images 13 hours ago
An anti-government protester holds the official Thai constitution book during a rally outside the parliament building in Bangkok on February 23, 2012. Thailand's ruling party has proposed a controversial plan to amend the country's constitution, which was drafted after a 2006 coup that ousted Thaksin Shinawatra from power."

That cut line (caption) fails to mention how many "Offical Constitutions" Thailand has had in the last 30 or 40 years.. Makes it sound like it is some major move - like amending the US Constitution.. Was probably written by a Thai staffer
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Old 25-02-2012, 03:55 PM   #431 (permalink)
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Parliament agrees to amend charter | Bangkok Post: breakingnews

Parliament agrees to amend charter
The joint sitting of senators and members of House of Representatives early Saturday morning agreed in principle to rewrite the 2007 Constitution to make it more democratic, reports said.

About 1.10am, the senators and MPs voted 399 to199, with 14 abstentions, in support of the draft constitutional amendments to pave the way for a charter rewrite proposed by the government.

Under the proposed amendment, 77 Charter Drafting Assembly members will be elected in all provinces by voters and 22 others will be picked by parliament.

After this, a 45-members extraordinary parliamentary committee will be set up. This panel is required to revise the draft charter changes within 30 days of its setting up.

Of the total panel members, 10 will be senators, 19 Pheu Thai MPs, 11 Democrat MPs, 2 Bhumjaithai MPs and one MP each from Chartthaipattana, Chart Pattana, Palangchon,

Gen Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, a list MP of Matubhum Party and the leader of Sep 19, 2006 coup, did not attend the two-day joint sitting.
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Old 26-02-2012, 07:07 PM   #432 (permalink)
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People worried constitutional amendment may cause conflicts: Dusit Poll

People worried constitutional amendment may cause conflicts: Dusit Poll

วันอาทิตย์ ที่ 26 ก.พ. 2555



BANGKOK, Feb 26 - A plurality of poll respondents, or 38 per cent are afraid constitutional amendment may result in conflicts among many parties, according to the Suan Dusit Poll, conducted on Saturday.

After a joint session of Thai Parliament, debating a proposed constitutional amendment on Feb 23-24, Suan Dusit Rajabhat University conducted an opinion survey among 741 people regarding the debate.

According to the poll, the largest percentage, or 38.88 percent of respondents, were afraid this contentious issue may bring about rifts among many parties with differing opinions, while 22.57 percent said they will keep monitoring the political situation and hoped the revision of constitution will benefit the majority rather than any individual.

Meanwhile, 48.11 percent said they were uncertain if the constitution should be amended because they did not have adequate or clear about it.

About 27 percent of those surveyed said it should not be revised due to concerns over disturbances and disorder in the country, whereas 24.3 percent thought that changes should be done to improve Thai politics and the nation.

The poll revealed that 43.57 percent of the respondents believed that the charter amendment will significantly affect Thai politics because it might lead to conflict while 38.92 percent said it will have a tremendous impact on the politics due to strong disagreement.

The joint parliamentary session of House of Representatives and Senate late on Friday voted in support of three bills seeking to amend the Constitution as the government's version would be the main draft for consideration by the vetting committee.

All three drafts proposed the amendment of only Section 291 of the 2007 Constitution, each seeking to set up a Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA), but with differing numbers of members and different selection processes.

After the vote, a 45-member vetting committee was appointed to prepare for the next readings of the amendment bills. The panel consists of 10 senators and 35 MPs and would complete its work within 30 days after next Wednesday. (MCOT online news)
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Old 26-02-2012, 07:12 PM   #433 (permalink)
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Constitution Moves Threaten Thai Détente - WSJ.com
  • FEBRUARY 26, 2012, 5:08 A.M. ET
Constitution Moves Threaten Thai Détente

By JAMES HOOKWAY

BANGKOK—A fragile détente between Thailand's powerful armed forces and a populist government led by the younger sister of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra is looking increasingly fragile after the country's parliament Saturday began moves to change the country's military-backed constitution.

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images Thailand Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra on Feb. 20.

Lawmakers voted 399 to 199 to take steps toward creating a constitutional drafting assembly, which could potentially undo laws protecting army leaders who organized a 2006 coup which forced Mr. Thaksin from power. Government supporters argue that the changes are needed to help rebalance Thailand's democracy after Mr. Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was elected prime minister in a landslide last July.

Mr. Thaksin's critics, though, contend that changing the constitution is also a way to enable the former leader back into the country from his bolt-hole in Dubai, where he lives to avoid imprisonment on a corruption conviction that he says is politically motivated. Some opponents also allege that Ms. Yingluck's government intends to use the charter-change process to remove laws that criminalize criticism of the country's revered monarch—an allegation her government denies.

Analysts say the dispute over what to do with the constitution could prove explosive. It could also potentially derail the country's recovery from its worst-ever floods last year, which led the economy to contract in the final quarter of the year and raised persistent questions about whether foreign businesses will continue to invest in the country.

"The military is increasingly alarmed over moves by the government to reduce its role, trim its influence and seed the senior command structure with Thaksin loyalists," risk consultancy PSA Asia wrote in a client note. "The civilian government in turn remains chronically fearful of a coup that could occur suddenly and perhaps violently to remove it from power. The chances for miscalculation remain alarmingly high." Thai military officials have repeatedly denied coup rumors in recent years.

Thailand, one of Asia's main manufacturing hubs and a key supplier of electronics and auto parts to the global market, has a seen a series of upheavals over the past several years. In 2008, anti-Thaksin protesters shut down Bangkok's international airport in a bid to prevent a previous government from changing the military-backed charter, which was introduced after a public referendum the year before. In 2010, more than 90 people were killed in clashes between security forces and pro-Thaksin protesters.

After Ms. Yingluck's election, it had appeared that her government and the armed forces were cooperating, notably working together to alleviate the worst of last year's flood crisis.
Tensions have escalated sharply this year, however.

Army chief Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha has waged a high-profile campaign to prevent any changes to the laws protecting King Bhumibol Adulyadej, while members of the opposition Democrat Party have questioned the government's moves to bypass parliament and use executive decrees to speed up its bid to recover from last year's flood.

Mr. Thaksin's supporters, meanwhile, have launched a series of mass rallies designed to create a show of force in support of the former leader and deter any plans which might be under way to unseat his sister's government.

Thousands of red-shirt supporters, so named for their choice of clothing, gathered in Khao Yai national park northeast of Bangkok on Saturday, where they applauded speeches in favor of constitutional change and sang along to entertainers calling for Mr. Thaksin's safe return.

It remained unclear over the weekend when a constitutional drafting assembly might begin.
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Old 27-02-2012, 07:10 AM   #434 (permalink)
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Well done guys, electoral democracy in action.

Just write into that constitution that its jailtime for any armytypes puts a foot out of place.

You can't argue with that
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Old 27-02-2012, 07:20 AM   #435 (permalink)
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the country's military-backed constitution.
Illegal Constitution, following an illegal military Putsch. Who the hell is the author of this drivel? Predictably, the WSJ has turned to mush since the dirty digger bought it.
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Tensions have escalated sharply this year, however.
According to whom? An unattributed comment that Pluto the Dog could have made.
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Old 27-02-2012, 08:47 AM   #436 (permalink)
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actually the constitution wasn't illegal, but in your Red world, everything is upside down
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Old 27-02-2012, 10:17 AM   #437 (permalink)
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Activists call for charter rewrite boycott | Bangkok Post: news

Activists call for charter rewrite boycott A democracy watchdog has called for a boycott of the government's planned constitutional amendment drive.

The Campaign for Popular Democracy's (CPD) move came after a poll indicated many Thais believe the pursuit of the charter amendments will lead to conflict in society.

Parliament on Friday passed three bills that would amend Section 291 of the constitution to create a Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) which would then be charged with rewriting the 2007 charter.

In a four-point statement released yesterday, the CPD said the coalition government had failed to clearly explain to the public how the changes to the constitution would serve the interests of the nation.

Suriyan Thongnu-eid, secretary-general of the CPD, said the rewrite drive appeared to be an attempt by politicians to chisel away at the system of checks and balances that limits their power.

He said one key hidden agenda of the charter change proponents is their desire to seek an amnesty for people who have been punished for violating election law.

In the CPD's view, the government has not provided an acceptable reason for wanting to amend the charter. Its attempt to do so will only spark new conflicts in society, Mr Suriyan said.

Fearing the CDA would simply be used as a proxy for the government, the CPD plans to start scrutinising any proposed charter amendment measures that are tabled as the government moves ahead with its amendment process.

Meanwhile, a public opinion survey conducted by Suan Dusit Rajabhat University found that 39% of 741 people surveyed after the charter amendment legislation debate last Thursday and Friday feared the amendments would lead to more conflicts.

In the poll, 48% said they had not received enough information explaining why the charter should be amended, which left them confused about what to believe about the rewrite. Some 44% also thought the charter amendments would lead to political unrest.
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Old 27-02-2012, 01:41 PM   #438 (permalink)
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Army chief warns PAD to follow law | Bangkok Post: breakingnews

Army chief warns PAD to follow law National army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha warned the People's Alliance for Democracy, the yellow shirt movement, to remain within the law if the PAD decides to stage protests against constitutional amendment.


Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)

"The yellow shirts can hold rallies but their movement must be under the democratic system," Gen Prayuth told reporters before leaving for a five-day visit to China on Monday morning.

Clashes between protesters and authorities were not likely since there are laws in the country. People who violate the law would be taken to court, he said.

Asked whether the army would intervene if clashes occur, Gen Prayuth said the army would not come out unless it received orders to do so.

The army chief said he, as a state official, would not comment on the government's move to amend the constitution as it is still going through the democratic process.
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Old 27-02-2012, 02:15 PM   #439 (permalink)
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Govt will not delay charter debate - The Nation

Govt will not delay charter debate

Kornchanok Raksaseri
The Nation February 24, 2012 1:00 am



WTF is that picture all about?
A picture paints a thousand words.
A scope on a pump shotgun? Really? Perhaps for posing only.
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Old 27-02-2012, 02:49 PM   #440 (permalink)
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Siam Samakkhi to hold rally against charter amendments Friday - The Nation

Siam Samakkhi to hold rally against charter amendments Friday

February 27, 2012 2:07 pm

The Siam Samakkhi will organize a demonstration against charter amendments at the Lumpini Park Friday evening.

Prasarn Marukhapithak, a former senator and a member of the Siam Samkkhi, said the rally will start at 5:30pm.

During the rally, several speakers will take part in an academic debate. They include Chirmsak Pinthong, Seri Wongmontha, Kaew Atibodhi and Bancher Singkhaneti.

Prasarn said his group expected that about 3,000 people would join the rally.

The Nation

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Old 28-02-2012, 01:39 AM   #441 (permalink)
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Opposition MP predicts confrontation | Bangkok Post: news

Opposition MP predicts confrontation Ideological conflict and confrontation between pro- and anti-Thaksin Shinawatra groups over constitutional amendments seem unavoidable, Democrat Party MP Thepthai Senpong said on Monday.

Mr Thepthai, an MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, was formerly a spokesman for the party but resigned from the position.

He said the pro-Thaksin group look formidable, judging from the show of force against another military coup by red shirt supporters of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) at Khao Yai's Bonanza resort on Saturday night.

During the rally, Thaksin called in via a video link and voiced his political opinions to the red shirts and the general public. His intention was to show the strong backing he has from the red shirts, he said.

Mr Thepthai said this was a positive development for Thaksin, unlike his opponents who are now very weak and incoherent.

But he believes politics in the future will not be dictated by the pro-Thaksin elements as those opposed to the ousted premier will gradually stage a comeback.

Continuing to push through charter amendments will bring them back together. If Thaksin's people go ahead and amend the constitution as dictated by their boss, then anti-Thaksin sentiment will certainly re-emerge, he said.


Democrat Party MP Thepthai Senpong (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

Mr Thepthai said there were three factors which would lead to the re-emergence of the anti-Thaksin movement.

First of all, the anti-Thaksin people will wait and see whether the constitution drafting assembly (CDA), to be set up following the amendment of Section 291, will touch on the monarchy, judicial power and independent agencies, and how it will be able to help whitewash Thaksin.

Second, they will become dissatisfied if those elected to sit on the CDA are mostly Thaksin supporters.

Third, they will watch to see if and how the new charter to be written by the CDA will serve Thaksin.

If the people feel the changes are intolerable, they will stage an uprising and the country could again face a dead end, Mr Thepthai said.

National army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday warned the People's Alliance for Democracy, the yellow shirt movement, to stay within the law if the PAD decides to stage protests against constitutional amendments.

"The yellow shirts can hold rallies but their movements must be made under the democratic system," Gen Prayuth told reporters before leaving for a five-day visit to China on Monday morning.

Clashes between protesters and authorities are not likely since there are laws in the country. People who violate the law will be taken to court, he said.


Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)

Asked whether the army will intervene if clashes occur, Gen Prayuth said the army would not come out unless it received orders to do so.

The army chief said he, as a state official, will not comment on the government's move to amend the constitution as it is still going through the democratic process.

Government chief whip Udomdej Rattanasathian said the Pheu Thai Party will select members of the committee to amend Section 291 that will lead to the to establishment of the CDA.

"I'm not concerned that the opposition could create another committee to scrutinise the amendment because there are already opposition members on the amendment committee," Mr Udomdej said.

On the financial executive decrees, he said the Secretariat of the House of Representative had not yet received the document from the Constitution Court which ruled the decrees legal.

He said he has decided that once the official statement is released, the decrees will be ready for submission to the parliament within the week and any other scheduled events will be postponed.

Mr Udomdej also said the government whip's office has invited the Anti-Money Laundering Office secretary to a meeting on amending anti-money laundering legislation.

He said currently the whip is waiting for the draft from a subcommittee, which will be forwarded to the government, then the parliament, once completed.

He said he was worried about public rights and freedoms in the legislation, which required people to clarify every transaction with a financial institution.

He said if the legislation is considered for amendment, this might convince the global Financial Action Task Force (FATF) that Thailand is not a laundering hub for terrorists and their backers.
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Old 28-02-2012, 01:41 AM   #442 (permalink)
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Thaksin link to constitution moves is key - The Nation

Burning Issue

Thaksin link to constitution moves is key

Avudh Panananda
The Nation February 28, 2012 1:00 am


Thai politicking appears to be going round in circles like, as an old saying goes, a dog chasing its tail.

Despite the political mantra for reconciliation, the yellow and red shirts are poles apart. The pro- and anti-Thaksin camps keep on faulting one another. The coalition and opposition lawmakers continue to sling mud instead of engaging in a policy debate.

And politicians of all stripes are gearing up for a new round of charter rewriting regardless of the risk of deepening social divisions.

Over the past 80 years, the country has gone through 18 charters. They had an average life expectancy of less than 4.5 years. The suspended 1997 charter lasted the longest, more than nine years, before it was tossed into the bin of history by the 2006 coupmakers.

Last week the charter amendment bill passed its first parliamentary reading on its way to forming a Constitution Drafting Assembly.

By April the legislative passage of the CDA should be completed. It will take about two months to form and activate the CDA. The picture of the new charter, No 19, should emerge in about six months.

From now to the end of the charter framing, the airing of opposing views on the draft provisions will likely become a dress rehearsal for the final showdown preceding the referendum on the charter, which should take place early next year.

Proponents of charter change will find it a daunting task to push for each provision. Then they have to ensure that the referendum result will outstrip the 14 million votes cast in the 2007 plebiscite, if the new charter is to gain a stamp of legitimacy.

Opponents will try to block proposed amendments related to independent organisations, punishment by party dissolution, the judiciary and electoral rules.

The charter debate is nothing new but a rehash of old and inconclusive issues, some of which date back to the pre-1997 era.

Of all the issues, the implication of the charter rewrite on the legal status of fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be the most contentious.

Although proponents will try to play down the possibility that the new charter will, directly or indirectly, help Thaksin elude his conviction and punishment, opponents will put up a fierce fight to prevent Thaksin from shedding excess baggage before his homecoming.

The now defunct People Power Party had underestimated the deep-seated anti-Thaksin fervour, which erupted in street protests running more than six months in 2007. The Pheu Thai Party should heed that lesson and work with utmost effort to prevent a repeat of the political mayhem involving the anti-Thaksin camp.

Unless the pro-Thaksin camp can quell suspicion over the link between the charter rewrite and amnesty, the political situation will grow increasingly volatile because the yellow shirts are preparing to pour into the streets to stop any attempts to bring Thaksin home with a clean slate.

To thwart an explosion of political violence, coalition lawmakers are obliged to draw a clear line between the charter amendments and the amnesty movement. They should also spell out how the planned amnesty designed to bring about reconciliation will, or will not, impact on legal issues involving Thaksin.

If the Pheu Thai MPs continue to rely on the red shirts to act as a shield for Thaksin, then they are foolish to try to fan a possible flare-up between red and yellow shirts. If this happens, the consequences will be dire indeed.
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Old 28-02-2012, 10:19 AM   #443 (permalink)
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Democrats vow scrutiny of charter bills | Bangkok Post: news

Democrats vow scrutiny of charter bills The Democrat Party will thoroughly check any charter amendment bills which go before the House, opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva says.


Abhisit: Flushing out hidden agendas

The party will examine the legislation through two channels. The first is a joint committee set up by the House which includes 11 representatives from the Democrat Party.

The 45-member panel, charged with scrutinising the draft amendments, is scheduled to meet for the first time tomorrow when the ruling Pheu Thai party is expected to appoint one of its own MPs to chair the panel.

The second channel is to have other MPs submit motions seeking deliberation on charter legislation during the House meeting, Mr Abhisit said.

"We are worried that if the new constitution includes a hidden agenda it could lead to conflict," he said, adding that the party's stance on amending the charter is based on three principles.

First, chapters 1 and 2 of the 2007 constitution, which concern the monarchy, must remain unchanged.

Second, the new constitution must protect the independence of judicial organisations and organisations which monitor state authorities. Third, the new constitution may not be used to grant an amnesty to certain groups of people.
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Old 29-02-2012, 01:57 AM   #444 (permalink)
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Charter intrigue deepens - The Nation

Analysis

Charter intrigue deepens

Tulsathit Taptim
The Nation February 29, 2012 1:00 am



'Blueprint' for dissolution of two courts contains double-barrelled irony


When the current "military-installed" charter is toast, one could be forgiven for indulging in some good wine. But the incidents on Saturday night involving allegedly "improper" behaviour by certain government politicians are not an indicator of what will come next. To foresee Thailand's political future reliably, one needs to check out Thaksin Shinawatra's Skype-in to the red shirts last Saturday, and the press interview proudly given by the Pheu Thai Party's Watana Muangsook.

Thaksin praised Watana for the latter's "great" charter debate. With the compliment still ringing in everyone's ears, the MP was quoted in a Thai-language newspaper's front-page headline news story as saying that the country's new constitution needed virtually to rein in the Con-stitution Court and the Administra-tive Court. The term "dissolution" was used, although Watana envisaged the two courts being reincarnated under the wings of the Supreme Court.

Watana's so-called constitutional "blueprint" produces two big ironies. First, it follows repeated attempts by the Yingluck Shinawatra government and the Pheu Thai Party to distance themselves from charter reform. Their charter amendments, which would transfer the task of writing up a new charter from Parliament to an elected drafting assembly, are in fact designed to guard the ruling camp against charges of having a malicious constitutional agenda.

Second, the Constitution Court and Administrative Court originated from the 1997 "People's Constitution", which Thaksin and his supporters always speak of in high regard. The two courts were essential parts of a checks-and-balances mechanism introduced in the 1997 constitution and passed on into the current charter, which is abhorred by the Thaksin camp. To downgrade the two courts, therefore, would be more of a contempt against the 1997 charter than the current one.

"We may be starting to see the true colours of this so-called charter reform," Democrat Jurin Laksanavisit quipped yesterday. His party's leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, also expressed dismay, warning the ruling side that it must not try to take down every institution perceived as a threat to its political or business interests.

After the Constitution Court acquitted Thaksin of share concealment in 2001 despite obvious evidence of his business empire's shares being held by his servants in massive numbers, it handed down rulings that hampered his attempts to return to power after the 2006 coup.

The Administrative Court has not been popular with the Thaksin camp, either, after verdicts that disrupted ambitious business policies affecting the likes of the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and PTT, formerly the Petroleum Authority of Thailand. While the Constitution Court dissolved two Thaksin-affiliated political parties and let the Democrats off the hook in a party-dissolution case, the Administrative Court rattled the Democrat-led government with a ruling that virtually froze vast sections of the Map Ta Phut industrial estate for months.

Watana's "blueprint" will add more tension to the charter-reform process, which is already fragile because of speculation that the ruling camp would exert power over the elected "drafters" and abolish all legal consequences of the 2006 coup. Such consequences include probes into Thaksin's staggering wealth and the subsequent seizure of his assets.

The Yingluck government and the Pheu Thai Party understandably will not lend more weight to Watana's "blueprint", although many analysts say that what Thaksin said during his weekend Skype-in spoke volumes. The ruling party yesterday "urged" its MPs to avoid publicising their ideas on how the new charter should look.

"Don't jump to a conclusion," Chalerm Yoobamrung told reporters, repeating his remark made during the charter-bills debate that speculation about the new constitution would be an insult to the drafting assembly, which is yet to be elected.

If Watana is part of a plan to influence the drafters, it will remain to be seen whether having him come out so openly to propose such controversial ideas was a wise move. The "blueprint" could put the drafting assembly in an awkward situation, as considering such proposals would subject the drafters to the label of being a government tool. If the assembly were to ignore criticism and embrace the "blueprint", Thaksin's political opponents would find fresh ammunition with which to attack the ruling camp, and such a showdown might have unpredictable consequences.

The "drunk or not drunk" episode involving some government politicians during last week's charter-bills debate was just a side-show blown out of proportion. The real issue, analysts believe, is what the drafting assembly will do once it is formed. And the final question will be which charter spirit - the one belonging to the 1997 charter that Thaksin so publicly advocates, or the one belonging to the existing, much-criticised Constitution - will be repelled.


Some points made by Pheu Thai party-list MP and legal expert Watana Muangsook on the 2007 Constitution:

_ Loss of balance of power - the administrative and legislative branches cannot examine the judicial branch.

_ Lacking proper checks-and-balances for independent agencies - members can be impeached in a vote by three-fifths of the Senate, but appointed senators are selected by the presidents of the Supreme Court, Constitution Court and National Anti-Corruption Commission.

_ The way members of independent organisations perform their roles is not uniform - in a case where senators are authorised to scrutinise laws, they can be selected for the task. But when they are called on to impeach elected MPs and ministers, they too must have been elected to office.

_ Some legal clauses are against principles of international law - for example, the ruling of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Political Office Holders is considered final and does not allow an appeal to a higher tribunal while, according to international legal principles, a person has the right to appeal.

_ In an interview with Thai-language newspaper Matichon, Watana said the Constitution Court and the Administrative Court should be dissolved and replaced by newly established divisions in the Supreme Court.
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Old 29-02-2012, 02:00 AM   #445 (permalink)
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Jurin: Hidden agenda in court plan - The Nation

Jurin: Hidden agenda in court plan

The Nation February 29, 2012 1:00 am

Judicial consolidation would benefit Thaksin, Opposition chief whip says

The parliamentary opposition yesterday criticised Pheu Thai party-list MP and legal expert Watana Muangsook's proposal that the Constitution Court and Administrative Court be dissolved and turned into divisions of the Supreme Court.

Opposition chief whip Jurin Laksanavisit said the Pheu Thai Party had begun to reveal its hidden agenda to help fugitive former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a concern the Democrat Party raised during the recent parliamentary debate on charter change.

"The opposition whips believe this is what the Pheu Thai Party aims to do during the House committee's deliberation of the charter-change drafts. We should not go back to the past; we have developed quite far now," Jurin said.

"We are worried that there might be limitations put on some mechanisms to favour some special person or particular people. The public should watch closely."

After passing the first reading, the draft bill to change the charter's clause on the constitutional-amendment process will be considered and deliberated by a parliamentary committee.

Watana is a member of the committee. During last week's parliamentary debate, he criticised the 2007 Constitution as distorting the checks-and-balances system.

Opposition and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said the two courts were necessary.

"We have to wait and see clearly how the story unfolds. However, the independence of independent organisations and the court is crucial to maintaining proper checks and balances on our political system, to make sure authorities do not abuse their power. It is wrong to say that these agencies are the problem just because they cannot use power as they want," Abhisit said.

He was speaking on the "Fah Wan Mai" programme on Blue Sky Channel.

As evidence of the need for an independent Administrative Court, Abhisit raised the case of Map Ta Phut industrial estate, in which, he said, justice was served for local people.

"It is clear to see that for many years before [the court's ruling], their [local people's] problems were not properly tackled. Therefore, we can see that the Administrative Court is necessary, just as independent organisations such as the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission are. But some changes related to their forms are possible," Abhisit said.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung refused to comment on Watana's proposal, saying it was too soon to speak on the matter and he did not want to have conflicts with his fellow party members.

"It's too soon. We have to listen to the Constitution Drafting Assembly [CDA] first, but it hasn't been established yet. The change to Article 291 isn't finished. I don't dare go too far. The party hasn't discussed that," Chalerm said.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the party's MPs had been asked not to make any comment that could influence or override the work of the expected CDA, to protect the party's reputation and prevent it being the target of political attacks.

Moreover, Prompong said, the party resolved to produce and publicise banners saying that all Pheu Thai members support the prohibition of the CDA from making any change to the chapter of the charter related to the monarchy.

Democrat MP and legal expert Thaworn Senneam said he disagreed with the idea of making changes to the two courts, as they are specialised chambers whose rulings are based on a high degree of expertise.

The Constitution Court requires experts in the principles of Rechtsstaat and the rule of law to check and balance government administration to make sure it is in line with the charter. According to the legal concept of Rechtsstaat, a German term meaning roughly "state of justice", citizens are protected from arbitrary use of authority by the placing of limits on state power.

According to Thaworn, the Administrative Court requires legal experts to consider whether use of state power violates the rights of the people and the public.

"Downgrading the two courts to make them divisions of the Supreme Court would block qualitative consideration of cases, as they would be considered using only ordinary legal principles, as in conventional courts, which base decisions on criminal, civil and procedural laws. These are not sufficient for such cases. I think the attempt to change [their status] is due to the fact that both courts ruled in cases that affected former premier Thaksin," Thaworn said.
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Old 29-02-2012, 02:39 PM   #446 (permalink)
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Chairman of charter change panel | Bangkok Post: news

Chairman of charter change panel
The meeting of the parliamentary constitution amendment committee on Wednesday elected Pueu Thai MP for Chiang Rai Samart Kaewmeechai as its chairman, reports said.

The panel’s deputy chairmen are Nakhon Pathom senator Somchart Phanpat, Democrat list MP Peerapan Saleerattavipak, Pheu Thai MP Peerapan Palusuk and Bhumjaithai list MP Ruangsak Ngamsompak.

Pheu Thai list MP Chavalit Witchayasuth was made secretary-general of the panel.

Mr Chavalit’s deputies are Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Mai Chuchai Lertpongadisorn, Democrat MP for Phitsanulok Warong Detchkijkrom and Pheu Thai list MP Cherdchai Tantatisirin.

Four spokesmen for the committee were also appointed: Chonnart Srikaew of Pheu Thai, Kampaengphet Senator Krit Arthitkaew, Democrat MP for Bangkok Thana Theeravinich and Palang Chon MP for Chonburi Porames Ngamchet.

The members from Democrat Party wanted the committee to clearly state that there will be no changes to the law relating to the monarchy and independent organisations, and that the rewriting will not whitewash any particular person, the reports said.

However, members from the government side said the panel’s only responsibility was to amend Article 291 to the pave way for the setting up of the charter drafting assembly.

Any statement made by the panel could be considered as leading points for the CDA. The CDA members should map out a framework on charter change themselves, the reports said.




Thai-ASEAN News Network - PM Affirms Amendment Not to Cover Whole Charter

PM Affirms Amendment Not to Cover Whole Charter

UPDATE : 29 February 2012

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra affirms the amendment to the 2007 Constitution will not cover the whole charter while articles relating to the Monarchy will be left untouched. She says the proposal to increase the number of charter drafters to 150 will have to be decided by Parliament.
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Old 01-03-2012, 05:36 AM   #447 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StrontiumDog
affirms the amendment to the 2007 Constitution will not cover the whole charter
A fundamental mistake, a sleazy and unconscionable 'back room deal' to appease the antidemocratic forces that are constantly scheming, and disrupting the politics of this nation. The fact that an illegal and treasonous Military Coup instigated Constitution is allowed to survive just leaves the door open for the same thing to happen again. So nothing has fundamentally changed, and neither in legal terms is Thailand left with an enforceable body of Law- which of course is just as 'They' want it.
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Old 01-03-2012, 06:50 AM   #448 (permalink)
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Old 01-03-2012, 10:49 AM   #449 (permalink)
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Opposition moves to limit scope of CDA | Bangkok Post: news

CHARTER REWRITE

Opposition moves to limit scope of CDA Democrats on a panel charged with vetting bills to create a constitutional drafting assembly yesterday moved to limit what the CDA can touch when it sets out to amend the charter.

Opposition MPs told the first meeting of a parliamentary committee vetting the charter legislation that the CDA should be barred from meddling with the monarchy, the judiciary and independent agencies.

They said the CDA should also be prevented from making any changes which attempt to whitewash ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The committee will consider three charter amendment measures, which passed the first reading last week.

The bills seek to amend Section 291 to eliminate language that authorises only MPs to amend the charter.

However, the bills also permit the creation of a CDA which will review the 2007 charter.

The amended bills as reported back to the House are also likely to contain clauses covering the qualifications of assembly members and how they will be chosen.

Members chose Pheu Thai Party's Samart Kaewmeechai as chairman.

Pheu Thai MP Korkaew Pikulthong, a member of the charter bill scrutiny panel, said the bills should not box in the CDA with too many parameters.

But Pheu Thai agreed with the Democrats' proposal barring the assembly from meddling with the monarchy.

"On other issues such as the judiciary and public organisations, I don't think we should lay down a framework for the drafters," Mr Korkaew, a core red-shirt member, said.

"It is clear that the [current] charter gives broad power to judges and undermines checks and balances," he said.

Democrat MP Alongkorn Ponlaboot voiced scepticism about the CDA's power to draw up an entire constitution.

He said he would ask the committee to determine if it is legal to write a whole new constitution.

Meanwhile, deputy premier Chalerm Yubamrung yesterday said he disagreed with suggestions the number of elected charter writers should be increased.

He said the composition of the CDA as envisioned in the government's CDA legislation is suitable and the assembly should be able to complete its work within the 180-day deadline.

The legislation calls for a total of 99 CDA members _ comprising 77 individuals, each representing one of Thailand's provinces, and 22 appointed by parliament.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:39 AM   #450 (permalink)
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Democrats oppose CDA rewriting entire charter | Bangkok Post: news

Democrats oppose CDA rewriting entire charter The Democrat Party opposes any efforts to empower the planned constitution drafting assembly to rewrite the entire charter and reiterated that sections covering the monarchy, the judiciary and independent agencies must be left untouched.

Democrat MP for Songkhla Wirat Kalayasiri told a parliamentary committee vetting bills to create the CDA yesterday that Section 291 was intended to allow for only partial amendments, not for drawing up a whole new constitution.

Mr Wirat is one of 11 Democrat MPs sitting on the 45-member panel which is vetting the charter legislation.

However, Sanguan Phongmanee, Pheu Thai MP for Lamphun and also a committee member, said rewriting the entire constitution is possible under Section 7 of the 2007 constitution, which states that whenever no provision under this charter is applicable, it shall be decided in accordance with constitutional practice.

Pheu Thai list MP Korkaew Pikulthong, also a member of the charter scrutiny committee, said the constitution still had problems that need to be fixed.

He believed the CDA would not propose any drastic changes that would adversely affect the judicial system as a whole.

The joint committee is deliberating three charter amendment bills, which passed their first reading last week.

The bills seek to amend Section 291 to eliminate language that authorises only ministers, MPs and the Senate to push forward proposed amendments to the charter, rather than a CDA.

However, the bills also permit the creation of a CDA that would review the 2007 charter.

The amended bills as reported back to the House are also likely to contain clauses covering the qualifications of assembly members and how they will be chosen.

Democrat MP for Phitsanulok Warong Dejkitwikrom said the constitution vetting committee should state clearly in the bills that the CDA will steer well clear of the judiciary and independent bodies to dispel any suspicions over an attempt to whitewash a certain individual.
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