Pheu Thai plans charter vote

Pheu Thai plans charter vote

Wasan Soypisudh, president, and the Constitution Court
Wasan Soypisudh, president, and the Constitution Court

Pheu Thai plans to seek a parliamentary vote Friday on whether to go ahead with the third reading of the charter amendment bill.

A joint parliament session will be held Friday to consider the international cooperation framework under Section 190 of the constitution requiring parliamentary approval prior to signing any international treaties and agreements.

However, Parliament President Somsak Kiatsuranond has put the Constitution Court's order, which suspends the parliament's third reading of the charter amendment bill, on the agenda for discussion.

A Pheu Thai source said the party will rebuke judges for suspending parliament's reading of the bill.

The party has assigned a team of 20 MPs led by Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung to argue against the ruling, which they consider to have overstepped the court's authority by interfering with parliament's legislative authority, said the source.

After the debate, the party will request a vote against the court's order to suspend readings of the charter bill, the source said.

Meanwhile, the red shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) Wednesday decided to scale back its plan to gather outside parliament Thursday and Friday to shield MPs on their way to the House from possible protest action.

UDD spokesman Worawut Wichaidit said red shirt leaders had resolved instead to stage a symbolic rally only from the morning until noon today.

The demonstration was aimed at expressing the UDD's opposition to the court. The red shirts did not want to cause any confrontation that could lead to a new wave of violence, he said. The shorter rally would also give less cause for yellow shirts to stir up unrest to put pressure on the military to stage a new coup.

The UDD will also ask supporters to join its signature campaign to demand the ouster of Constitution Court judges who supported the decision to suspend the debate.

The UDD decision came after its political rival the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) Wednesday vowed not to protest just yet, saying legal mechanisms were still functioning well enough to prevent any attempts to overthrow the constitution.

PAD spokesman Parnthep Pourpongpan said the PAD would consider staging a new protest only if further attempts were mounted to pass into law measures that would compromise the King's power, whitewash ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra or reform the country in the way the government had previously announced.

The third reading of the charter amendment legislation is not considered a significant enough factor for the PAD to resume its protest, unless the reconciliation bills are also inserted into parliament's agenda, PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul said.

Meanwhile, national police chief Priewpan Damapong ordered every police precinct to prepare for a possible crowd control operation, said police spokesman Pol Maj Gen Piya Uthayo.

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