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Chaotic parliament will try again today

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Pandemonium and protests among bickering lawmakers marred parliament's debate on constitutional amendments yesterday with both sides hoping for a smoother session today. 

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Parliament President Somsak Kiatsuranont is difficult to see as he is surrounded by police preventing angry Democrats from approaching him. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTANRASILL

Chaos forces charter debate halt

Police called in to break up scuffle in parliament

Mongkol Bangprapa,
Manop Thip-Osod 
Penchan Charoensuthipan

Pandemonium and protests among bickering lawmakers marred parliament's debate on constitutional amendments in the first day of a joint sitting, which was broadcast live Tuesday.

Parliament's police officers had to be called in to restore order and remove protesting MPs from the chamber.

A chaotic scene in parliament as Democrats protest restrictions on their speaking time and the presence of riot police. CHANAT KATANYU


Riot police were later asked to stand by outside parliament in what the Democrat Party described as an attempt to intimidate opposition MPs.

Members of the House of Representatives and senators Tuesday started deliberating the second reading of proposed charter amendments relating to the make-up of the Senate.

Senate Speaker Nikhom Wairatpanich acted as chairman of the meeting Tuesday morning. His chairing of the meeting prompted protests by Democrat MPs.

Democrats including Boonyod Sooktinthai and Thana Cheeravinij argued that Mr Nikhom had signed in support of charter amendments so it was improper for him to chair the meeting as he could be seen as lacking impartiality.

Parliament President Somsak Kiatsuranont later took over the chairmanship.

The atmosphere became tense when Mr Somsak refused to allow 57 Democrat MPs, who had reserved their right to debate the proposed changes to the charter amendments, to speak.

Samart Kaewmeechai, chairman of the parliament committee scrutinising the amendments, told the meeting earlier that the 57 MPs should be barred from the debate since they failed to adhere to what was approved in the first reading of their proposed amendments.

Mr Somsak said he would allow only two of them to debate. If all of the 57 MPs were permitted to speak, the debate would take the whole day, he said.

The Democrats protested saying that Mr Somsak was trying to strip them of their right to speak.

Mr Somsak decided to call a vote to decide if all the 57 Democrats should be allowed to debate.

The meeting voted 339 against the request by the 57 Democrats, while only 15 voted in support.

However, the Democrats continued protesting until Mr Somsak slammed a wooden gavel on his desk three times and then called in parliament police officers to keep order.

Mr Somsak ordered the police to take the protesting MPs out of the chamber, which led to chaotic scenes and scuffles between the Democrats and parliament police officers.

The situation was threatening to get out of hand so Mr Somsak decided to adjourn the meeting for 10 minutes about 2pm. But when the meeting resumed, disorderly scenes broke out again when Mr Nipit, the Democrat MP for Phatthalung, told the meeting that a company of 150 riot police would be sent in to restore order at the request of Mr Somsak.

The Democrats said they would refuse to cooperate unless the riot police were ordered to leave the premises. The meeting had to be called off at 3.20pm again.

When the meeting resumed, Democrat MP Witthaya Kaewparadai demanded Mr Somsak take responsibility for calling in riot police to intimidate MPs.

Mr Somsak told the meeting that parliament's security office had asked police to ensure security around parliament, not inside the building.

Senate president Nikhom Wairatpanich also needed protection. PATTARAPONG CHATPATTANRASILL

The evening meeting was interrupted by protests and had to be adjourned five times. At around 8pm, the meeting eventually voted by 330 to 6 to approve Section 1 of the bill, that proposed all 200 senators be elected. The vote was made without a debate, prompting fierce protests from the Democrats.

Mr Nikhom, who was chairing the meeting, tried to move on to Section 2 but was prevented by the protests.

Parliament police had to be called in to protect Mr Nikhom. The Democrats then called on Mr Nikhom to adjourn the meeting to today but ruling Pheu Thai MPs wanted to carry on, creating deadlock. Mr Nikhom eventually adjourned the meeting at 9.45pm. It will resume Wednesday.

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Vocabulary:

adhere to: to obey a rule, law, agreement, etc. - ทำตามกฎหมายหรือกฎระเบียบ

adjourn: to temporarily end something such as a meeting or a trial - ปิด (ประชุม)

amendment: a change made to a law or agreement, in this case, to the constitution - การแก้ไขกฎหมาย ในที่นี้หมายถึงการแก้ไขรัฐธรรมนูญ

approach: to move closer to someone or something - เข้าใกล้

approved: given official agreement or permission - ได้รับการรับรองแล้ว

atmosphere: the mood or feeling that exists in a place - บรรยากาศ

bar: to officially not allow someone to do something or go somewhere - ห้าม

bickering: arguing about things, especially things which are not very important - การทะเลาะวิวาท

broadcast: to send out a programme on television or radio - กระจายเสียง,กระจายข่าว

chairman: the person in charge of a committee, a company, etc - ประธาน

chamber: one of the sections of a parliament - ห้อง  ห้องประชุม 

chaos: a situation in which everything is confused and in a mess - ความยุ่งเหยิง, ความสับสน

charter: a constitution - รัฐธรรมนูญ

company: a group of soldiers or police that is usually divided into two or more smaller groups - กองร้อย

cooperate: to work with other people to achieve a result that is good for everyone involved - ร่วมมือกัน

deadlock: a situation in which neither person or group involved in a disagreement is willing to change their opinions or positions - หมดหนทาง ไม่มีทางแก้

deliberate: to consider carefully, usually before making a decision - พิจารณา, ตรึกตรอง

demand: to ask for something very firmly - เรียกร้อง, ต้องการ

ensure: to make certain that something happens or is done - ให้การยืนยัน, รับรอง, ให้ความมั่นใจ

eventually: at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process - ในที่สุด

fierce: very strong - รุนแรง, ดุเดือด

gavel: a small hammer used by a person in charge of a meeting or an auction, or by a judge in court, in order to get people's attention - ค้อนเล็กที่ใช้ในการประมูล, ค้อนเล็กสำหรับทุบโต๊ะของผู้พิพากษาในศาล

impartiality: a condition of not being connected to or influenced by one particular person or group - ความเที่ยงตรง

improper: not suited or appropriate to the situation - ไม่เหมาะสม ไม่สมควร

interrupt: to say or do something that makes somebody stop what they are saying or doing - ขัดจังหว

intimidate: to attempt to frighten someone in order to get them to do something - ทำให้กลัว, ข่มขู่

joint session: a meeting of both Houses of Parliament, i.e., the House of Representatives and the Senate - การประชุมร่วมกันของสมาชิกจากสองสภา

lack: to not have something needed - ขาด

live: happening now, i.e., not recorded earlier - ถ่ายทอดสด

make-up: the different things, people, etc. that combine to form something; the way in which they combine; composition - ลักษณะ, การจัดวางองค์ประกอบ

mar: to spoil something - ทำให้เสียหาย

opposition: of a political party that is not part of the government or a group which is against the government - ฝ่ายค้าน  ผู้ต่อต้าน

order: a situation in which everything is well organized or arranged - ความเป็นระเบียบเรียบร้อย

out of hand: out of control - ไม่สามารถควบคุมได้

pandemonium: a situation in which there is a lot of noise, activity and confusion, especially because people are feeling angry or frightened - ความโกลาหล, ความสับสนวุ่นวาย

premises: the buildings and land that a business or organisation uses - ที่ดินและสิ่งปลูกสร้าง

presence: the fact of being in a particular place, thing or situation - การเข้าร่วม, การมีอยู่

prevent: to stop somebody from doing something; to stop something from happening - ขัดขวาง, กัน, กีดขวาง

prompt: to cause something to happen or be done - ก่อให้เกิด

proposed: suggested as an idea for a group to consider - ถูกเสนอ

protest: a strong complaint or disagreement - การประท้วง

refuse: to say or show that you will not do something that someone has asked you to do - ปฏิเสธ

remove: to take something away - เอาออกจาก

reserve your right: to use your power or rights that you have under the law - สงวนสิทธิ, ใช้สิทธิ

restore order: to bring an uncontrolled situation under control -

restriction: a rule, action or situation that limits or controls someone or something - การจำกัด, การควบคุม

resume: to begin again after stopping for a period of time - เริ่มอีกครั้ง, กลับมาอีกครั้ง

right: something that you are allowed to do, either by law or morally - สิทธิ

riot police: police who are trained to deal with violent groups of people - ตำรวจปราบจราจล

ruling: having control over a particular group, country, etc - ซึ่งมีอำนาจ, ซึ่งปกครอง

scrutinise: to look at or examine somebody/something carefully - พินิจพิเคราะห์, พิจารณา, ตรวจสอบ

scuffle: a short and sudden fight, especially one involving a small number of people - การต่อสู้กันอุตลุด

security: protection; safety from attack, harm, or damage - ความมั่นคง, ระบบรักษาความปลอดภั, ความปลอดภัย

Senate: one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand - วุฒิสภา

senator: a member of the Senate - วุฒิสมาชิก

slam: hit/kick with great force - ชนเข้าอย่างแรง, ตี/เตะอย่างแรง

stand by: to be prepared to do something -

strip: to take something away from someone - ถอน, ยึด

surrounded: having something,people, etc. completely around all sides - ถูกล้อมรอบ

take responsibility: to say or admit you are the cause of something, usually something bad (and, often, to do what needs to be done to correct the situation) - แสดงความรับผิดชอบ

tense: feeling nervous or worried - เครียด

threaten: to put at risk; to put in danger - ทำให้ตกอยู่ในความเสี่ยง

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