Thai ruling party moves to amend army-backed charter

Thailand's ruling party is planning broad changes to the military-backed constitution, but appears divided over whether to lift an amnesty for the junta, party officials said Wednesday.

The People Power Party (PPP) has put together a team to draft amendments to the 2007 charter, which was approved at referendum last August while the country was still under military rule following a September 2006 putsch.

"We will try to amend four or five sections," said the team's leader Chusak Sirinil, a minister to the Prime Minister's Office.

"We will do it as soon as possible, but it might take time because the language of the charter is quite complicated."

The PPP, which swept to power in December elections, has already announced that it intends to strip the election commission of its power to seek the dissolution of political parties.

Party spokesman Kudeb Saikrajang told AFP that they would also push to amend article 309, which grants amnesty to members of the junta which overthrew prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and ripped up the 1997 constitution.

But Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama said that changing the article -- which also forbids the prosecution of any anti-corruption bodies set up by the junta -- could fuel unrest.

"We should make amendments to the undemocratic sections -- changing section 309 will raise conflict and should not be touched. The country needs to move forward," he told reporters.

Chusak said they had not yet reached a conclusion on article 309, or on any amendments to the constitution that might reverse a five-year politics ban imposed on Thaksin and 110 of his allies by an army-installed tribunal.

Chusak told reporters they were also looking at changing a section which bans senators, MPs and their families holding positions in state companies, and introducing a clause demanding junta-appointed bodies reveal their assets.

Prime Minister Samak Sudaravej had earlier indicated he would only seek to amend the constitution after two years.

The People's Alliance for Democracy, which led street protests against Thaksin when he was in office, said it was too early to change the constitution, but a poll showed the PPP's move had popular support.

A survey of 3,426 people across Thailand by Bangkok's Assumption University found that nearly 60 percent of those polled supported amending the charter to make it more fair towards all sectors of society.

1 ความคิดเห็น:

Matthew Hunt

Apr. 10, 2008, 10:04:00 p.m.

I think the best thing would be to go back to the 1997 constitution, to put it back to how it was before the coup.

I like your blog - an interesting mix of Thai and world politics.