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Amnesty bill rejection likely in Senate

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The Senate is likely to reject the controversial blanket amnesty bill when it reaches the Upper House next week. 

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A group of senators announced their opposition to the amnesty bill last week. CHANAT KATANYU

Evening update

Senate president Nikom Wairatpanij said this afternoon that the list of senators opposing the amnesty bill now includes at least 10 elected senators. One of them, Senator Direk Tungfang of Nonthaburi, said the issue had been thoroughly discussed for the past week and it was likely more elected senators would oppose the bill, making it a certainty it would not pass the Upper House.

Senate tipped to throw out bill

70-80 in Upper House to vote against, sources say

Nattaya Chetchotiros
Patsara Jikkham

The Senate is likely to reject the controversial blanket amnesty bill when it reaches the Upper House next week.

Informed sources said many senators have already agreed that they will not vote for the bill in the first reading.

"We will reject it as we cannot accept the principle of granting a blanket amnesty to all wrongdoings dating back to 2004.

As the principle is not acceptable, there is no point amending it in the second reading," said a senator who asked not to be named.

He estimated 70-80 senators would vote against the bill, which is expected to be deliberated by the Upper House next Monday.

He admitted the Pheu Thai government has been lobbying senators to support the bill. Many senators have been in favour of the government in the past including lending support to amend the charter, which is now pending a Constitution Court ruling over whether the draft is constitutional.

However, for the amnesty bill, sources said it is "too much" to grant such a blanket amnesty.

The support of at least 76 out of 150 senators is needed to pass or reject the blanket amnesty bill.

Somchai Sawaengkarn, a member of the so-called Group of 40 Senators, said many senators are opposed to the revised version of the bill.

"We believe the Senate can defuse tension if we pay heed to the people's call," he said.

If the bill fails to clear the Senate in its first reading, the House of Representatives will have to wait at least 180 days before it can reaffirm its decision to pass the bill into law. Sen Somchai said he doubted MPs would push for the bill if the Senate rejects it.

However, if the bill passes its first reading, he said the Group of 40 Senators will try to change its content in the scrutiny stage before the second and third readings. "If it sails through the Senate, the next battle is in the Constitution Court," he said.

Sen Somchai's comments coincide with a statement issued by a group of 70 senators calling themselves "Senators against the Amnesty Bill".

The group is said to be a coalition of Group of 40 Senators and senators in central and southern provinces.

The group has pledged to vote against the bill which it claims will set bad precedents, and cause injustice and divisiveness in society.

"[The group] will vote against the bill and work with the public to campaign against it," the statement said.

According to the group, the government is not authorised to grant an amnesty to people who are charged with criminal offences. Those offences are committed against the rights of others.

The bill also "takes the opportunity" to grant an amnesty to people who are charged with corruption. Moreover, it will nullify a number of court rulings, which interferes with judicial powers.

As an agency which scrutinises bills, the Senate should not allow the amnesty bill to pass, said the statement.

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Vocabulary:

admit: to agree that something is true, especially when you are unhappy, sorry or surprised about it - ยอมรับ

amend: to make changes to a document, law, agreement, etc. especially in order to improve it - การแก้ไขกฎหมาย

amnesty: a situation in which a government agrees not to punish, or to no longer punish, people who have committed a particular crime - การนิรโทษกรรม

authorised: given official permission to do something or for something to happen - ได้รับอนุญาต

battle: a fight; serious disagreement, strong competition, etc. - การต่อสู้

bill: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย

blanket: affecting or aimed at everyone or everything equally, even when this is not sensible or fair - ครอบคลุม, กว้าง

charge: to accuse someone officially of committing a crime - ตั้งข้อกล่าวหา

charter: a constitution - รัฐธรรมนูญ

coalition: the act of two or more groups joining together; a group formed by people from several different groups, especially political ones, agreeing to work together for a particular purpose - การรวมเป็นหนึ่งเดียว, การร่วมกัน, การร่วมมือกัน, การประสานกัน

coincide with: to happen at the same time as something else - เกิดขึ้นพร้อมกับ

commit: to do something wrong or illegal - ทำความผิด

Constitution Court: the court that decides whether or not laws follow the constitution - ศาลรัฐธรรมนูญ

constitutional: correct or allowed according to the constitution - ถูกต้องหรืออยู่ในขอบข่ายที่ระบุไว้ในรัฐธรรมนูญ

content: the subject, ideas, or story that a piece of writing or a radio or television programme deals with - เนื้อหา,สาระ

controversial: causing disagreement or disapproval - ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง

criminal: illegal; against the law - ผิดกฎหมาย, นอกกฎหมาย

defuse: to make a situation more relaxed by making people feel less angry or less worried - ทำให้มีอันตรายน้อยลง, ทำให้ตึงเครียดน้อยลง

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

divisiveness: a situation that causes people to be split into groups that disagree with or oppose each other - การแบ่งแยก, การแตกแยก

doubt: to think that something is probably not true, that it probably won't happen or that it probably does not exist - สงสัย

estimate: to say what you think an amount or value is or will be, either by using available information or by guessing - คาดคะเน

grant: to officially give something - ให้

in favour of: supporting a person or an idea, proposal etc that you believe is right - ยอมรับ, สนับสนุน

informed sources: sources thought to have good information - แหล่งข่าวที่เชื่อถือได้

injustice: failure to treat someone fairly and to respect their rights - ความไม่ยุติธรรม

interfere: to deliberately become involved in a situation and try to influence the way that it develops, although you have no right to do this - แทรกแซง

issue: to announce something officially - ออกประกาศ

judicial: relating to the courts of law - ในชั้นศาล

lend support: to give support - ให้การสนับสนุน

lobby: to try to influence someone, e.g., a politician, government official or the government itself - ชักชวน, วิ่งเต้น

moreover: in addition; furthermore - ยิ่งกว่านั้น, จากนั้น

nullify: to make a legal agreement or decision have no legal force - ทำให้โมฆะ, ทำให้ไร้ผล

offence: a crime or illegal activity for which there is a punishment - การกระทำผิดกฎหมาย

opposition: strong disagreement with a plan or policy - ความขัดแย้ง

pay heed: to pay attention to/to follow someone's wishes, demands, etc. - ให้ความสนใจกับ, เอาใจใส่

pending: waiting to be dealt with, settled or completed - ยังค้างอยู่, ซึ่งยังไม่จบสิ้น, อยู่ในระหว่าง

pledge: to make a serious promise to do something - สัญญา

point: a reason for something - เหตุผล

precedent: an action, situation or decision which has already happened and which can be used as a reason why a similar action or decision should be performed or taken - มาตรฐานในการตัดสิน, ตัวอย่างหรือแบบอย่างที่มีมาก่อน

principle: a basic rule or belief about what is right - หลักการ

reaffirm: to give your support to a person, plan, idea, etc. for a second time; to strengthen - ยืนยันใหม่

reject: to not agree with - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ

revise: to change, improve, or make additions to something - แก้ไข

right: something that you are legally allowed to do or have - สิทธิ

ruling : a decision by a court of law - คำตัดสิน คำชี้ขาด

sail through: to easily succeed in doing something -

scrutiny: careful examination of someone or something - การใคร่ครวญอย่างละเอียด

senator: a member of the Senate - วุฒิสมาชิก

so-called: used for saying that a particular word is usually used for referring to someone or something - ที่เป็นที่รู้กัน

source: someone who gives information - แหล่งข่าว

stage: a part of an activity or process or a period of development - ช่วง, ระยะ, ตอน

tensions: the feelings caused by a lack of trust between people, groups or countries who do not agree about something and may attack each other - ความตึงเครียด

tip: to say that something is likely to happen - คาดการณ์

Upper House: The Senate in a system with two lawmaking bodies – a bicameral legislature, the other being the House of Representatives - วุฒิสภา

version: a particular form of something which varies slightly from other forms of the same thing - ชุด, เวอร์ชั่น

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