Charter amendment 'necessary'

Charter amendment 'necessary'

FFP leader rouses crowds to take a strong stance against 'dictatorship'

Democracy Monument is seen on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. The opposition jointly pushes for an amendment of the charter which they have branded as a product of dictatorship. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)
Democracy Monument is seen on Ratchadamnoen Avenue. The opposition jointly pushes for an amendment of the charter which they have branded as a product of dictatorship. (Photo by Patipat Janthong)

The country is at a crossroads in that it must decide whether it needs to rewrite the current constitution in blood or if it should be amended with everybody's consent, Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit said on Saturday.

Mr Thanathorn was speaking at a forum in Thammasat University where his party signed a pact with six other opposition parties pledging to jointly push for an amendment of the charter which they have branded as a product of dictatorship.

The FFP leader said the charter amendment is not an exception but the rule. It is the only way that society can survive, he said.

Mr Thanathorn also said it was time for people to take a clear stance on the issue.

"This is not the time to be shy or coy about it," he added.

Several parties had previously nominated members to sit in the House of Representatives' special committee to study the charter amendment.

Mr Thanathorn said the charter amendment was required to tackle social and political conflicts as well as to bring about reforms, which centre on a fair re-distribution of power.

Coup-makers have kept the power to themselves, which has set the country back several decades, he said, adding that this fight will not end until democracy is fully restored.

Mr Thanathorn also said the idea that the country has enjoyed relative calm since the May 2014 coup is an illusion.

The reality, he said, is that people have been oppressed by the powers-that-be.

He said changing the constitution was not the only target of the battle, which is also being waged against an administration that is dividing people.

Pheu Thai Party leader Sompong Amornvivat said people from all sectors of society must understand the need to rectify this charter, and called on the government to fund a referendum on the subject.

If the referendum goes ahead, he said, people must show their discontent by voting overwhelmingly for the amendment, he said.

Meanwhile, Seri Ruam Thai Party leader Sereepisuth Temeeyaves said the first step should be to tear up the current charter to save everyone "unnecessary headaches" and complications. After that, he said, one of the previous constitutions which is most acceptable to the people should be reinstated and a new premier installed.

Prachachat Party leader Wan Muhamad Nor Matha said the current charter was peppered with features intended to prolong the coup-makers' grip on power, citing the Senate, which was mostly handpicked by the now-defunct National Council for Peace and Order.


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