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Democrat meet today on charter rewrite

Posted by arnon_k On November - 22 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Charter amendments are expected to become a hot issue this week as the Democrats decide whether to endorse them before a parliamentary debate.
First, the Democrat Party will hold a party meeting today to decide whether to formally endorse the proposed amendments.

Then, the bill to amend the charter in two points is scheduled to be deliberated upon by a joint sitting of MPs and senators tomorrow and Wednesday before parliamentarians vote on Thursday on whether or not to approve the bill in the first reading.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday insisted the government would go ahead with pushing for two amendments.

Speaking to reporters after going on air for his weekly TV programme, Abhisit said the government must heed the suggestions of a panel it had set up to study how to improve the charter.

The committee proposed that the government change the electoral system from multiple-seat to a single seat.

The prime minister added that the government also wants to amend the charter to lift the requirement that the government would have to seek parliamentary approval prior to signing contracts with foreign governments. The prime minister said this point of amendment would make it more effective for the government to administer the country.

The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) has vowed to hold a massive rally outside Parliament tomorrow against the charter amendments while the red-shirt movement also announced it might hold a parallel protest.

No prohibition against PAD, red shirts

Abhisit said he would not prohibit the two groups from demonstrating. He believed the PAD and the red-shirt movement did not want to see violence break out.

The prime minister said he had told Police Commissioner-General Wichean Potephosree to talk to leaders of the two groups to make sure their demonstrations would be held within the framework of constitutional rights.

Abhisit insisted the two points of amendment would not lead to or further worsen rifts in the country, so his government would continue to push for them.

The prime minister said the amendments would take some days and he would still have time to change his mind if it turned out later the public disagreed with the amendments.

“The bill must be passed in three readings. After it is approved in principle, a panel will have to consider it. Then, after the bill is passed in the second reading, it must wait 15 days before it is considered in the third reading. If conflicts heighten at any point during the process, we can have second thoughts,” Abhisit said.

Meanwhile, PM’s Office Minister Ongart Klampaiboon said yesterday that if the bill is rejected by Parliament, the government will have to take responsibility.

Thepthai Senpong, spokesman for the Democrat leader, said Democrat MPs would start debating their stand on the amendment bill from 2pm today.

Thepthasi said the party meeting is expected to last several hours before the party makes a formal statement on the bill, and all MPs will have to comply with that stand.

No Democrat rift on charter amendments: Suthep

Posted by arnon_k On November - 16 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban on Tuesday dismissed speculation about the Democrat Party rift related to the proposed charter amendments.
“What happened was an airing of various views in the party executive meeting, which no conclusion was drawn and the debate will continue next week,” he said.

Suthep was speaking in reference to the Monday’s party meeting during which Democrat adviser Banyat Bantadtan urged for the amemdments to be put on hold, arguing the timing was not right.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva countered, however, that the process to amend the charter should be activated within the current House session in order to foil any attempt to deny him an option to dissolve the House and call a snap election.

If political impasse happens, this might trigger a coup, he said.

Suthep said what Abhisit and Banyat said at the meeting was an exchange of opinions on the timing which should not be construed as a party split.

He said the Democrats will rally behind the coalition government to amend the charter even though the rewriting process might take time.

The push to activate the charter rewrite by this month was on track, he said, insisting there was no change of plan

Democrat MP claims videos set out to destroy party

Posted by arnon_k On October - 18 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Democrat Party MP Wirat Romyen claims video footage appearing to show him arranging for a staff member of the Constitution Court to lobby the court on the party’s behalf is a carefully prepared plot to destroy the Democrats.

The opposition Puea Thai Party yesterday released the footage which it says shows the Democrat Party attempting to influence the court ruling in the case in which it is accused of misusing election funds. The Democrat Party could be disbanded and its executives banned from politics for five years if found guilty.

Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit played the video footage to reporters at his party’s head office. He also told a news conference one clip showed Mr Wirat talking with Pasit Sakdanarong, secretary to the president of the Constitution Court.

One clip, uploaded by “ohmygod3009″ to YouTube, shows three people. One appears to be Mr Wirat asking for the help of Mr Pasit to persuade members of the Election Commission, in particular its chairman and political party registrar Apichart Sukhagganond, to testify in court in favour of the Democrat Party.

Mr Wirat is a Democrat executive and a member of the party’s legal team charged with fighting the allegations of impropriety.

Other clips feature a meeting of court judges talking about the procedures of the case.

Mr Wirat yesterday identified the person he is seen speaking with as ”Mr P”.

He said Mr P contacted him through Worawut Nawapokin, an adviser to the lower house committee on local administration chaired by Mr Wirat. Mr Worawut is seen with the two men in the clip.

The Ranong MP said he agreed to meet Mr P at a Bangkok restaurant on Oct 7 because Mr P was a secretary to the president of the Constitution Court.

Mr Wirat said he did not notify other members of the legal team, including the team chief Chuan Leekpai, about the meeting.

But he said it was now clear he had been set up as a hidden camera was trained on him throughout the meeting.

Mr Wirat said Mr P had tried to ask him ”leading questions”.

Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday said there was no need for his party to lobby the court because it had already explained the facts and information regarding the election fund case.

He said the party’s legal team were satisfied with the progress they have made on the case.

But Mr Abhisit said efforts had been made to discredit the legal proceedings involving the case.

”The court must step forward to provide a clarification on this issue,” he said.

EC commissioner Sodsri Sattayatham described the whole affair as ”frightening” and asked that the Constitution Court clarify what had occurred.

”I believe it must be an insider [who made this video],” Ms Sodsri said.

”It’s impossible for outsiders to have made the clip.”

Democrat does not abandoned me: Sirichok

Posted by arnon_k On August - 30 - 2010 1 COMMENT

Songkhla Democrat MP Sirichok Sopha has refused that the party abandoned him after meeting with Victor Bout. MP who is dubbed as “Mr.Wallpaper” insists that the meeting does not mean interference the case, but to find out more information for Prime Minister to make the decision what to do next.

Sirichok said that he does not talk with Deputy Prime minister Suthep Thaugsuban after the rumor emerged yet, but believed that the deputy well understands his work.

Sirichok confirmed that his action will not make things go mess or damage international relation. For clearly understanding, I will explain any information in the party meeting on Aug 31, Mr.Wallpaper said.