Pheu Thai stalls charter change | Bangkok Post: news

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Pheu Thai stalls charter change

Amendment bid on hold as govt seeks stability

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NAKHON RATCHASIMA: Core Pheu Thai Party figures agreed Sunday to temporarily withhold the bids for constitutional amendment and the national reconciliation bill for the sake of the government stability, a party source disclosed Sunday. 

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra aims an air rifle at a target at a fair organised for Pheu Thai Party members at a resort in Khao Yai, Nakhon Ratchasima, yesterday evening. Earlier in the day, the party held its seminar at another venue in the province. The meeting was dominated by an intense debate on charter amendment. PATTANAPONG HIRUNARD The source said the ruling party assessed the situation,estimated it would not win the amendment battle, and decided it had better take a step back.The party will proceed when it had a mandate from the public, who will first be told how they would benefit from the charter change.The party leaders' views were expressed at a Pheu Thai seminar in Khao Yai, during which members fiercely debated how to proceed with the charter amendment.No consensus was reached after the meeting, which was chaired by Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.The source said the core leaders' decision to delay the charter amendment bid would frustrate red-shirt leaders facing serious charges in connection with the 2010 political violence."Thaksin is aware that if he persists, the government will fall apart," said the source, referring to former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, de facto leader of Pheu Thai and Ms Yingluck's elder brother.Pheu Thai leader Charupong Ruangsuwan cautioned party MPs to tread carefully in a speech to open the seminar.He said a snare had been laid for those trying to amend the charter, making the amendment process difficult.Mr Charupong, also the interior minister, said the 2007 constitution was undemocratic. He said it was designed to weaken the checks-and-balances system, boost the power of independent agencies and undermine political parties, while it failed to engage the public.It also proved to be an obstacle to international cooperation, he said."The charter and the referendum law have laid a trap for attempts to amend the charter," he said."The 2007 charter is the heart of the conflict and poses a threat to stability and national administration."Chusak Sirinil, a member of the coalition committee studying charter amendments, said no matter how long it took, the charter amendment would eventually proceed.He said amending the charter section by section would not be easy either."Try to change how the members of independent organisations are selected and you can see trouble coming. It's not going to be easy," he said.Ms Yingluck Sunday told the Pheu Thai members to "think positive" as the government would continue to sort out differences.She said it would take great efforts to address issues, some of which were "structural problems"."We will need to take a step back and talk it out to find the causes [of the problems], but not to create more divisiveness. Otherwise [the problems] will never come to an end," she said.A heated debate ensued after the forum was opened for participants to express their views. Red-shirt members in the party strongly criticised a working group's proposal to commission legal experts at...

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