The government is losing its nerve in its effort to press ahead with the constitutional amendment process, says Thammasat University law associate professor Worachet Pakeerut.
Speaking at a seminar organised yesterday by the Institute of Democratisation Studies, Mr Worachet, the Nitirat group core leader, said the government will not risk losing its hold on power to pursue the charter amendment.
Typically, governments that try to amend their nations' charters tend to get themselves into trouble, he said.
"The present government is no exception," he said.
The charter has mechanisms built into it to prevent easy amendments, he said.
Charter change was looking unlikely as it appears the government is willing to make compromises to ensure it remains in power.
The government should push through the bill to amend Section 291 of the constitution through its third and final reading, he said.
The bill has been stalled before the House. If passed, the bill would set up a charter drafting assembly to start the charter rewriting process immediately.
If the bill to amend Section 291 fails before parliament, the prime minister should dissolve the House and call a general election, Mr Worachet said. The amendment should be an election pledge that voters can decide on, he said.
The other option is to amend certain sections of the charter _ such as Section 68, which prohibits attempts to overthrow the constitutional monarchy or other unconstitutional power grabs. The section allows the Constitutional Court to examine the constitutionality of such moves.
Section 68 is contentious as some observers question whether the court has the authority to directly receive a petition of complaint from the public.
Chaturon Chaisaeng, former acting leader of the defunct Thai Rak Thai Party, said parties must figure out if they want charter change or not.
The political crisis stems from each side refusing to accept the rule of law, he said.
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- Writer: Mongkol Bangprapa