Activists demand review of 'public draft'

Activists demand review of 'public draft'

Activists hold up placards at a gathering to submit a petition signed by more than 70,000 people backing their version of a draft constitutional amendment at parliament yesterday. Chanat Katanyu
Activists hold up placards at a gathering to submit a petition signed by more than 70,000 people backing their version of a draft constitutional amendment at parliament yesterday. Chanat Katanyu

The Internet Dialogue on Law Reform (iLaw) and several other civil rights groups yesterday demanded that a charter amendment draft backed by more than 70,000 people be deliberated alongside other drafts proposed by political parties.

The demand was made after representatives of iLaw and the other organisations met House Speaker Chuan Leekpai to submit their proposed charter amendments.

They also handed him a letter affirming the group's plan to submit a list of names and signatures of those who supported their draft for inspection next Tuesday.

Jon Ungphakorn, director of iLaw, said the coalition had gathered 70,026 signatures for their proposal, which he described as a "public draft".

It would be totally wrong not to include this masses-backed version of the charter amendment draft in parliament's deliberations, he said.

Section 256 of the constitution allows the submission of a constitution amendment draft supported by at least 50,000 people for consideration by parliament, said Sombun Uthaiwiankun, secretary to the House speaker.

Yingchip Atchanon, a key iLaw figure, said next Tuesday supporters of the public draft will march from Tao Poon electric rail station to parliament, to submit the list of names to the House of Representatives.

Meanwhile, Thepthai Senpong, Democrat Party MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat, said there was no guarantee that attempts to rewrite the charter would succeed if the government is not sincere in delivering its promise to amend it.

The charter rewrite bid requires the full support of the government, the opposition and the Senate.

However, as the three sides have differences of opinions regarding how the charter should be rewritten, the chances of a rewrite bid succeeding are very slim, he said.

Furthermore, conflict between political parties on how the charter should be amended has left the public confused, he said.

Anusorn Iamsa-ard, a spokesman for the main opposition Pheu Thai Party, said chief opposition whip Sutin Klungsang was assigned by the party to seek talks with the government and Senate whips to find common ground on the charter rewrite.

"The government has not shown that it is ready to fix the flaws in the constitution," Mr Anusorn said.


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