PAD turnout outside parliament was low while inside, the government was attacked for being insincere but the opposition had little chance of getting what it wanted.
People’s Alliance for Democracy demonstrators camp out in front of parliament to protest against the proposed charter amendments being debated by the joint sitting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. PATTARACHAI PREECHAPANICH
PAD charter rally draws low turnout
Puea Thai confirms opposition to changes
Security forces appeared to heavily outnumber yellow shirt protesters outside parliament yesterday when a joint sitting began its two-day meeting on amendments to the constitution.
The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) could only attract about one-tenth of the 10,000 people it predicted would turn out to oppose the amendments, authorities said.
Two of the amendments are being sponsored by the government and one each has been proposed by a group of 102 MPs from the coalition Bhumjaithai and Chart Thai Pattana parties and a group of eligible voters headed by red-shirt leader Weng Tojirakarn.
One government draft seeks to amend Article 190 covering parliamentary endorsement for international treaties, while the second seeks to change the voting system to single MP constituencies as well as the number of MPs.
Puea Thai Party MPs led by Chalerm Yubamrung demanded the reinstatement of the 1997 charter, saying the government’s election changes were designed to help the coalition.
Mr Chalerm said it was an attempt merely to weaken Puea Thai candidates’ chances in the next general election.
‘‘The public doesn’t stand to gain anything. It is more a conciliation for government coalition parties.’’
Mr Chalerm said Puea Thai would not accept the changes because it had never endorsed the 2007 charter.
Appointed senator Tuang Atthachai said the amendment on the constituencies should be dropped if it could not bring an end to social divisions.
‘‘Why should we proceed with an amendment if it threatens to compound the situation and create more conflicts,’’ he said.
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said the amendment would make it easier for the government to arrange the next general election.
‘‘Once the charter review process is done, we will have fewer conditions to deal with. It gives us more confidence that the next polls will be more acceptable,’’ he said.
Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai said he and other Democrats who disagreed with the proposed amendment would vote in line with the party’s resolution.
He said no Democrat MP would break ranks even though some were in favour of large constituencies as a way to tackle vote-buying.
Outside parliament, the PAD began the first day of their campaign against the amendments.
‘‘[Prime Minister Abhisit] knows our position well,’’ Piphob Thongchai, a core PAD leader, said. ‘‘He once promised us that any decision on charter amendments would be subject to a public referendum.’’
Mr Piphob and other PAD leaders, including Sondhi Limthongkul and Chamlong Srimuang, branded Mr Abhisit as ‘‘evil and cunning’’.
The protesters loosely occupied a pavement alongside the Dusit Zoo opposite parliament as a large number of security forces were deployed on the other side.
The gathering was peaceful and did not block traffic.
The use of amplifiers or loudspeakers was banned at the protest site under the emergency decree. Megaphones were used instead.
PAD core leaders told their supporters to camp in the area and sleep there every day until the debate ends.
People’s Alliance for Democracy – the union of several groups protesting against the past government and which staged large protests against the Thaksin government as well พันธมิตรประชาชนเพื่อประชาธิปไตย
constitution – the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by รัฐธรรมนูญ
charter – a constitution รัฐธรรมนูญ
amendment – a change made to a law or agreement, in this case, to the constitution การแก้ไขกฎหมาย ในที่นี้หมายถึงการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ
joint – done together; belonging to or shared between two or more people ร่วมกัน
rally – a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something การชุมนุม
turnout – the number of people who come to an event or take part in an activity ผู้ที่เข้าร่วม
opposition – strong disagreement with a plan or policy ความขัดแย้ง
outnumber – having more people than another group มีคนมากกว่า
predict – to say that something will happen in the future, especially as a result of knowledge or experience คาดการณ์ว่า พยากรณ์จากสถิติว่า
authorities – people who have the power to make decisions or enforce the law เจ้าหน้าที่ผู้มีอำนาจ
proposed – suggested as an idea for a group to consider ถูกเสนอ
coalition – a temporary union of different political parties that agree to form a government together พรรคร่วมรัฐบาล
eligible – allowed by rules or laws to do something or to receive something มีสิทธิ
draft – something, in this case a written proposal for changes to the constitution, that may be changed before it is finished ร่างกฎหมาย
endorsement – official approval การรับรอง การลงนามในเอกสาร
treaty – a written agreement between two or more countries formally approved and signed by their leaders ข้อตกลง, สนธิสัญญา
constituency – a district that elects its own representative to parliament เขตเลือกตั้ง
reinstatement causing something to exist again การนำกลับมาใช้อีก
merely – used for emphasising that something is small or unimportant เพียงเท่านั้น
candidate – a person who is trying to be elected ผู้สมัครรับเลือกตั้ง
conciliation – a process that is intended to end an argument between two groups of people การประนอม, การไกล่เกลี่ยข้อพิพาท
appointed – officially chosen for a job ถูกแต่งตั้ง
social divisions – disagreements between people belonging to the same society การแตกร้าวในสังคม, การแบ่งแยกในสังคม
proceed – to continue as planned ดำเนินการ
threaten – to be likely to harm or destroy something เป็นลางร้าย
compound – to make a problem or difficult situation worse เพิ่ม
condition – something that must be done before another thing can happen เงื่อนไข
confidence – the quality of being certain ความมั่นใจ
poll – an election การเลือกตั้ง
in line with – following a rule or system; also in accordance with and consistent with สอดคล้องกับ
resolution – an official decision that is made after a group or organisation have voted มติ
break ranks – to disagree publicly with the rest of their group
in favour of – supporting a person or an idea, proposal etc that you believe is right พิพากษาให้
tackle – to make an organised and determine attempt to deal with a problem จัดการ
campaign – a series of actions intended to produce political or social change การรณรงค์
core leader – one of the most active or most important leaders of a group แกนนำ
subject to – depending on; affected by ขึ้นอยู่กับ มีผลมาจาก
referendum – an occasion when all the people of a country can vote on an important issue การลงประชามติ
brand – to describe someone or something as being bad or unpleasant
evil – very bad or cruel ชั่วร้าย
cunning – clever at planning something so that you get what you want, especially by tricking other people; orof things that are cleverly made for a particular purpose เจ้าเล่ห์, ฉลาดแกมโกง
occupy – to be in control of an area that you have entered in a group เข้าครอง
pavement – a path with a hard surface beside a road. The American word is sidewalk ทางเดิน, ฟุตบาท
deploy – (of police or soldiers) to put in place ready for action ส่ง (ทหารตำรวจ) ประจำการ
block – to stop someone or something from moving through or along something else ปิดกั้น
amplifier – a piece of electronic equipment that makes sounds louder เครื่องขยายเสียง
loudspeaker – a piece of electrical equipment that allows sounds or voices to be heard loudly at a distance เครื่องกระจายเสียง, ลำโพง
banned – officially not allowed to do something ถูกห้าม
site – a place where something happens or is สถานที่
emergency decree – a situation where the government takes on special powers in a dangerous situation and the rights of the people are often limited in some way ประกาศภาวะฉุกเฉิน source
megaphone – bullhorn; a cone-shaped device which makes your voice louder when you speak into it, so that people can hear you although they are not near to you เครื่องกระจายเสียง (หรือโทรโข่ง)
debate – a discussion in which people or groups state different opinions about a subject การโต้วาที, การอภิปราย, การโต้แย้ง