Coalition parties unified on charter change
BANGKOK - The four coalition political parties on Monday resolved that the constitution must be amended because the current charter is "undemocratic".
- Published: 10/12/2012 at 04:08 PM
- Newspaper section: topstories
The Pheu Thai, Chartthaipattana, Palang Chon and Chart Pattana parties issued a joint statement on Monday at the parliament denouncing the 2007 charter as a product of the Sept 19, 2006 coup. They claimed that the voters were forced to approve it in a national referendum.
Photo by Thiti Wannamontha
Many articles in the charter were undemocratic and did not promote the party-system, mainly on the appointment of independent organisations which was not endorsed by the people, according to the four-party statement.
The current charter also absolved the junta of their crimes, which is considered to be a violation of the rule of law, Pheu Thai leader Jarupong Ruangsuwan said.
The coalition pledged to create a new charter based on three principals:
1) To protect, support, promote and preserve the constitutional monarchy.
2) The constitution, the highest law in the land, must come from the people. Citizens’ participation must be allowed throughout the whole process, from drafting to promulgation.
3) The charter must promote and protect citizens' rights. The people must be able to participate in administering and monitoring the government. To streamline the political structure to be more efficient.
Pheu Thai Part secretary-general Phumtham Wechayachai said that a date for the final vote on the charter amendment bill had not been set. The coalition would study this further. The Pheu Thai would hold a meeting on Tuesday to decide the details.
Prime Minister's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn, secretary-general of the government's charter change working commission, said the coalition is looking to push forward the third reading of the constitution amendment bill to enable the formation of a new drafting assembly and allow it to start work.
Once finished, the legislation would be put to a national referendum for the voters to decide. Those who oppose it had the right to file a complaint with the Constitution Court, he said.
Once the assembly had started working, lawmakers could petition for changes to the charter on article-by-article basis.
Deputy secretary-general of King Prajadhipok's Institute Wuthisarn Tanchai weighed in on the issue on Monday, saying that any change to the constitution must be based on the charter principal bestowed by the King with consideration for the country’s tradition and culture.
The people must be told why the charter has to be changed to lessen distrust among the public, Mr Wuthisarn said.
On the government's plan to promote the charter change through the Interior Ministry, he urged the proponents to think about the consequences, because it was a very delicate issue. It was crucial for all sides to reach consensus, even though democracy promotes majority rule, he added.
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