Dems firm on charter stand

The Democrat Party stands firm in its opposition to amending the constitution in its entirety as proposed by the government, party MP Ong-art Klampaiboon said on Monday.

Mr Ong-art said iof the entitre constitution is rewritten there would be guarantee the amendments would not aim to clear former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra of all offences, both those already decided by the court and those still pending.

Although the party supported amending the charter section by section, it was of the opinion that it should not be done at this time, even if a public referendum were to be held before the vote on the charter amendment bill in the third reading in the House of Representatives.

The Democrat Party did not oppose a public referendum, because the people have the right to vote for or against it, Mr Ong-art said.

"If more than one half, or about 23 million, of eligible voters turn out to vote and the majority supports it, the government can proceed with amending the charter.  But if the turnout is fewer than 25 million, the government should call a halt to it," he said.

Mr Ong-art said the Democrat Party would not do anything to obstruct the referendum or to violate  Article 43 of the Referendum Act of 2009, as postulated by the Election Commission.

He was responding to EC member Sodsri Sattayatham's comment that if a political party campaigned for the people not to turn out to vote in a referendum it could be liable to up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to 200,000 baht.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, in his Facebook page published on Sunday, called on the voters to reject charter change in a referendum to block what he termed as the government's attempt to amend the charter to whitewash Thaksin.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsap said at a press conference branding Mr Abhisit's call for the public to block the attempt to change the charter as being undemocratic.

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