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Court ruling: Opposing sides react

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The Constitution Court’s rejection of the charter amendment requiring all senators be elected was greeted with cheers from government opponents and bitterness and some tears from its supporters. 

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Democrat rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban presents Senate Speaker Nikhom Wairatpanich with 115,000 signatures to seek impeachment of MPs who supported the amnesty bill. Now, a second impeachment action may be taken against those supported the rejected charter amendment. Media pool photo.

Court ruling: Opposing sides react

The Constitution Court’s rejection of the charter amendment requiring all senators be elected was greeted with cheers from government opponents and some tears from its supporters.

The reaction was somewhat muted, however, since the Court refused to impose the ultimate penalty of dissolving the political parties pushing the amendment bill through parliament or impeaching those politicians who voted for it.

The opposition Democrats saw the ruling as a new opportunity to pile the pressure on the Yingluck Shinawatra government, already reeling from a failed bid to pass a blanket amnesty law which was seen as improperly benefitting the prime minister’s brother Thaksin. He, of course, is living in exile in Dubai, having been removed as the country’s leader in a 2006 coup. 

Anti-government demonstrators near the Constitution Court react to yesterday's ruling . THITI WANNAMONTHA

A red-shirt supporter can't hold back here tears after hearing the court ruling against the elected senate amendment while at Rajamangala stadium yesterday afternoon. THANARAK KHOONTON

Democrat MP for Songkhla and party legal team member Wirat Kalayasiri said Ms Yingluck must now withdraw the bill which she had submitted to the palace for royal endorsement. Ms Yingluck also must resign to show responsibility for submitting a flawed bill, Mr Wirat said.

That is unlikely to happen. Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanchana yesterday said Prime Minister Yingluck had simply complied with the constitution.

When parliament forwarded the charter amendment draft to her, she was required by the constitution to submit it to the palace for royal endorsement within 20 days, Mr Phongthep said.

In its written ruling, the Court was particularly scathing in its criticism of how the amendment was pushed through parliament. The documentation was badly flawed, the debate was unfairly curtailed and the voting was blatantly dishonest as the votes of absent MPs were cast by colleagues inside the chamber, the judges wrote.

The opposition Democrats are certain to call for the resignation or impeachment of House Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranon and Senate Speaker Nikhom Wairatpanich for their roles in cutting off debate.

Yesterday, a subdued Mr Nikhom admitted the amendment was dead and he said he would carry out a review of the procedures to see what went wrong. Mr Somsak did not comment immediately.

Mr Wirat also said the Democrat party will submit a petition to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) seeking to remove from office the 312 MPs and senators who voted for the charter amendment draft.

Meanwhile, outside parliament, the ruling has had dramatically different effects on the demonstrations held by government opponents and supporters. At the Democrat-sponsored rally at Democracy Monument, rally leaders expect the ruling will help draw even more protesters to a campaign for the removal of what they call the Thaksin regime. Rally leader Suthep Thuagsuban is calling for one million people to attend Sunday’s rally.

Red-shirt rally leaders at Rajamangala stadium last night, led by Jatuporn Promphan, centre, told supporters to go home and build support for amending the entire constitution. SEKSAN ROJJANAMETAKUL

The pro-government red-shirts, on the other hand, abruptly ended their rally at Rajamangala stadium to go home to prepare to fight another day. They are clearly bitter at what they see is court interference in the right of parliament to amend the charter.

UDD core leader Jatuporn Prompan told those present in the stadium to get red shirts in their communities to back government MPs to vote for amending Section 291 of the constitution which will allow the set-up of a charter drafting committee to rewrite the whole constitution.

"Since we can't change it section by section, we will change the whole charter," Mr Jatuporn said.

Adapted from Bangkok Post stories

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Vocabulary:

abruptly: suddenly and unexpectedly, and often unpleasant - อย่างกะทันหัน

absent: without; not including, not present - ขาด

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

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

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

back: to support - ให้การสนับสนุน

benefit: to give an advantage to someone - มีประโยชน์ต่อ

bid: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม 

bill: a proposal for a law - ร่างกฎหมาย

bitter: feeling angry or upset because of a bad experience, especially when you think that you have been treated unfairly - เคียดแค้น, โกรธแค้น

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

blatantly: in an obvious or open way - โจ่งแจ้ง โอ้อวด อึกทึก

campaign: a series of actions intended to produce political or social change - การรณรงค์

cast a vote: to vote - ลงคะแนน

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

charter: a constitution - รัฐธรรมนูญ

colleague: someone who works in the same organisation or department as you do - เพื่อนร่วมงาน

community: the people living in one particular area - ชุมชน

comply: to obey a rule, law, agreement, etc. or do what someone asks you to do - ปฏิบัติตาม (กฎหมาย, ข้อเสนอ, ข้อตกลง etc.)

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

core leader: one of the most active or most important leaders of a group - แกนนำ

coup d’etat: the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร

criticism: comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad - การวิจารณ์

curtail: to reduce or limit something - จำกัด, ลด

debate: a discussion in which people or groups state different opinions about a subject - การอภิปราย, การโต้วาที, การถกเถียง

demonstration: an occasion when a group of people gather together to support or protest about something - การชุมนุม

demonstrators: people who march with other people in public to show that they support or oppose something - ผู้ชุมนุมประท้วง

dissolve: to officially end a group, a marriage, business agreement, etc. - ยุติ,สิ้นสุด, ยุบ

documentation: paperwork; documents used for proving that something is true or correct - งานเอกสาร

draft: something, in this case a written proposal for changes to the constitution, that may be changed before it is finished - ร่างกฎหมาย

draft: to write a document, plan, etc. that may be changed before it is finally accepted - ร่าง

dramatically: in a big way - อย่างใหญ่หลวง

draw: to attract or interest somebody - ดึงดูดความสนใจ

endorsement: official approval - การรับรอง การลงนามในเอกสาร

exile: a situation in which you live in a foreign country because you feel you cannot live in your own country, usually for political reasons - การลี้ภัย การถูกขับออกนอกประเทศ

flawed: spoiled by something - มีข้อบกพร่อง

forward: to send onwards - ส่งต่อ

House Speaker: the person who is in charge of most of the activities of the House of Representatives - ประธานสภาผู้แทนราษฎร

immediately: happening right after something else with no delay; right away - ทันที

impeachment: the process of formally accusing a public official of a serious crime relating to their job - การกล่าวโทษเจ้าหน้าที่รัฐว่าทำผิดศีลธรรมหรือจรรยาบรรณ

impose: to force someone to accept something - กำหนด,บังคับ

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

interference: the process of deliberately becoming involved in a situation and trying to influence the way that it develops - การเข้าแทรกแซง

legal: relating to the law or lawyers - เกี่ยวกับกฎหมาย

muted: quietly, without much energy or strength; subdued -

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC): An independent government organisation to investigate corruption carried out by government officials - ปปช. (สำนักคณะกรรมการป้องกันและปราบปรามการทุจริตแห่งชาติ)

on the other hand: and looking at the opposite situation .... or another situation ... - ตรงกันข้าม

opponent: someone who disagrees with you or who is competing against you - ฝ่ายตรงข้าม

opposing: working, fighting, etc. against each other - ซึ่งต่อต้าน

opposition: of a political party that is not part of the government - ฝ่ายค้าน  

penalty: a punishment, or the usual punishment, for doing something wrong - โทษ

petition: a request of someone in authority to do something - คำร้อง

pressure: trying to make someone do something by forcing, threatening, or persuading them in a determined way - ความกดดัน, แรงกระตุ้น, การบีบบังคับ

procedure: a way of doing something - ขั้นตอนการดำเนินการ

protester: someone who shows that they disagree with something by standing somewhere, shouting, carrying signs, etc - ผู้ต่อต้าน, ผู้ประท้วง

rally: a large public gathering of people to support someone or to protest against something - การชุมนุม

react: to change or behave in a particular way as a result of or in response to something - เกิดปฏิกิริยา

reel: to feel very shocked, upset or confused - ตกตะลึง 

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

regime: a government that controls a country, especially in a strict or unfair way - รัฐบาลที่ขึ้นมาปกครองโดยการยึดอำนาจ

reject: to not accept something - ปฏิเสธ ไม่ยอมรับ

resign: to state formally that you are leaving a job permanently - ลาออก

role: the purpose or influence of someone or something in a particular situation; function or job - บทบาท

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

scathing: criticising someone or something in a very strong way - เสียดแทง (คำพูด), เจ็บแสบ (คำพูด)

section: any of the parts into which something is divided, such as a law, constitution or contract - ส่วน, มาตรา

senate speaker: the Senate president; the person who is in charge of political debates in the Senate - ประธานวุฒิสภา

senator: a member of the Senate - วุฒิสมาชิก

show responsibility: to say or admit you are the cause of something or involved with something, usually something bad - แสดงความรับผิดชอบ

subdued: quiet and slightly sad or worried - ข่มอารมณ์, เงียบ

submit: to formally give something to someone so that can make a decision about it - ยื่น (เอกสาร) เพื่อการพิจารณา

submitted: formally given to someone, usually, but not always, so that they can make a decision about it - ยื่น

tears: drops of water that come from your eyes when you cry or when something (dust, gas, etc.) has entered your eyes - น้ำตา

ultimate: most extreme; best, worst, greatest, most important, etc - ที่สุด

unlikely: not expected to happen; probably won’t happen - ที่ไม่น่าจะเกิดขึ้น

withdraw: to take away - ถอน

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