PM: No rush to amend charter

The government will not rush to amend the constitution but will give a higher priority to restoring the climate of reconciliation in the country, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Sunday.

  • Published: 30/12/2012 at 01:01 PM
  • Newspaper section: topstories

"Building a climate of reconcilation that is free from conflict is much more important than amending the constitution in order to strengthen the country's economy and security. Constitutional amendment is also important but not urgent. It would not be good if amendments lead to a conflict," the prime minister said.

But Ms Yingluck said a working committee is considering whether to hold a referendum before the amendment, as well as to recommend whether to amend the charter section by section or proceed with voting on the charter amendment bill now with parliament and awaiting its third reading.

The committee had not yet made a definite decision, which should be acceptable to the people, she said.

The prime minister said if the government decided to hold a referendum, the process would be time-consuming and a new constitution might not be seen in 2013.

She stressed the need to amend the 2007 charter because it came from a military coup.

A new constitution should come from the people and guarantee the balance of the three main sovereign powers - the executive, legistive and judicial branches, she added.

Ms Yingluck said she had told the committee studying charter amendment to clearly explain to the people what problems had been caused by the 2007 constitution.

Asked whether former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra's support for a charter referendum would have an influence on the government's decision, Ms Yingluck said the government regarded Thaksin as a citizen and would take his advice under consideration the same as it does with parliament, the Election Commission, political parties and the people.

"This matter [constitutional amendment] will not lead to a state of chaos as happened in Egypt because the government has the objective of pushing the country forward," the prime minister said.

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