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- Published: 23 Feb 2012 at 09.31
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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet have been able to go about their work without worrying about mass protests, but, as the constitutional amendment process begins, that is likely to change.
The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is threatening to organise mass rallies if the government proceeds with its plan to amend the constitution.
Political temperature set to rise
Thus far, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet have been able to go about their work without having to confront the masses of protestors that plagued the previous government.
That may soon change. People are in agreement over the need to rebuild the flood-ravaged economy and prevent future floods, but amending the constitution is sure to be controversial.
Already, the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) is threatening legal action and mass rallies if the government goes ahead with its plans to amend Section 291 of the constitution. This would allow the formation of a constitution drafting assembly (CDA) and eventually lead to a complete charter rewrite.
The PAD vowed to seek the prosecution of those who push for a constitutional rewrite which it says is part of attempts to allow former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra to escape punishment.
Several PAD co-leaders spoke out against the rewrite yesterday. Chamlong Srimuang said the charter rewrite would greatly damage the nation and the PAD would not tolerate it.
Somkiat Pongpaibul said he considers the charter change as an attempt to create a new kind of state, which he said was unacceptable.
Pibhop Dhongchai said the government wanted the charter change only to free Thaksin from his two-year jail term over the Ratchadaphisek land case and to help him evade prosecution and consolidate the power of Pheu Thai.
The connections were clear, he said. Pheu Thai is the ruling party and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is Thaksin's sister.
PAD spokesman Panthep Phuaphongphan said politicians in power would control the CDA. He said the CDA would create a whole new charter that would pave the way for a parliamentary dictatorship.
The political temperature will certainly rise today as parliament begins a two-day joint House-Senate debate on the amendment process. Both supporters and opponents have promised to be outside parliament today, so watch to see what happens.
Adapted from a story in today’s Bangkok Post
People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) – the union of several groups protesting against the Samak, Somchai and Abhisit governments and which staged large protests against the Thaksin government as well พันธมิตรประชาชนเพื่อประชาธิปไตย
threaten – to say you might or will do something bad or harmful, especially in order to make someone do something ขู่
mass – involving large numbers of people คนจำนวนมาก
rally – a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something การชุมนุม
proceed – to continue as planned ดำเนินการ
amend – to make changes to a document, law, agreement, etc. especially in order to improve it การแก้ไขกฎหมาย
constitution – the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by รัฐธรรมนูญ
temperature – a measurement of how hot or how cold a place or object is อุณหภูมิ
cabinet – the group of government ministers who make and approve government policy คณะรัฐมนตรี
confront – to face, meet or deal with a difficult person, group or situation เผชิญหน้า
protester – someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง
plagued – caused a lot of problems for someone or something for a long period of time ทำให้ยุ่งยาก ลำบากมานาน
ravaged – destroyed; damaged very badly ถูกทำลาย, เสียหาย, ถูกล้างผลาญ
controversial – causing disagreement ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง
legal – relating to the law or lawyers เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย
formation – the process during which something develops or is created การสร้าง
draft – to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted ร่าง
assembly – a group of people who have been elected or chosen in order to discuss issues and make decisions สภา, สมัชชา
eventually – at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด
charter – a constitution รัฐธรรมนูญ
vow – to make a formal and serious promise to do something สาบาน, ปฏิญาณ
prosecution –the process of accusing someone of a crime and asking a court of law to judge them การดำเนินคดีตามกฎหมาย
co-leader – one of two or more leaders of a group
tolerate – to accept something unpleasant without becoming impatient or angry ทน ยอม
state – government รัฐบาล
unacceptable – that you cannot accept, allow or approve of ซึ่งไม่สามารถยอมรับได้
jail term – the length of time a person is required to spend in jail
evade – to avoid or escape from someone or something หลีกเลี่ยง
consolidate – to make the power, position or achievements you already have stronger or more effective รวมเป็นหนึ่ง
ruling – having control over a particular group, country, etc ซึ่งมีอำนาจ, ซึ่งปกครอง
pave the way – to make something possible or easier to be done ปูทางไว้สำหรับ
dictatorship – a government having complete power and which does not rule democratically เผด็จการ
joint – done together; belonging to or shared between two or more people ที่ร่วมกัน
debate – a discussion in which people or groups state different opinions about a subject การอภิปราย
opponent – someone who disagrees with you or who is competing against you ผู้ไม่เห็นด้วยกับ, ฝ่ายตรงข้าม