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Abhisit opposed to reinstating 1997 charter

Posted by arnon_k On July - 14 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Pheu Thai Party wants the restoration of the 1997 constitution in the hope the change would lead to amnesty for those involved in political offences, outgoing Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Wednesday.

Mr Abhisit was referring to Pheu Thai legal team adviser Manit Jitjanklab’s comments that the party should hold a public referendum to ask voters if they preferred the 2007 or the 1997 constitution.

Mr Manit said he would propose a public referendum at the next Pheu Thai Party meeting.

If the majority in the party agreed with his idea, he could draft the questions for the referendum in five minutes, he said.

Mr Manit said the 2007 charter drafted after the 2006 coup should be amended or replaced, to prevent the Pheu Thai Party from being dissolved.

Mr Abhisit said he did not see any reason to reinstate the 1997 charter because the present constitution can be amended by parliament.

“Why do we have to limit the people’s rights to a certain constitution? Every constitution has its weak and strong points, which can be amended,” he said.

The premier said he thought those who wanted to reinstate the 1997 constitution had only one objective – to eliminate some sections of the 2007 charter to facilitate an amnesty.

He said any attempt to override a court’s verdict would create problems to society.

Since Pheu Thai had received the mandate from the people to implement various policies, it should concentrate on working to meet the people’s expectations, Mr Abhisit said.

He said in a democracy, the legislative, executive and judicial branches keep each other’s power in balance. A decision on a legal offence should be made by the judiciary and should not be overridden by a popular vote, he said.

Democrat chief adviser Chuan Leekpai also voiced a similar opinion when asked earlier to comment on Mr Manit’s idea.

The former prime minister said there should be an independent committee comprising politicians and academics to study and revise the charter.

“I don’t see the constitution as the problem, the problem lies with the people using it,” Mr Chuan said.

Abhisit wants ‘constructive’ politics

Posted by arnon_k On July - 7 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Caretaker Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said he hopes all sides will make a constructive contribution to politics and that there will be no more social divisions in the country in the next five years.

Mr Abhisit made his comment in a speech on Thailand’s future in the next five years at an annual meeting of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB) on Thursday.

“The 11th NESDB Plan will be difficult to achieve if the political situation remains the same as in the past five years.

“I hope all sectors such as business and media will be less engaged in dividing society and I also hope politics will return to the parliamentary system,” said the outgoing leader of the Democrat Party.

Govt won’t delay floating LPG price

Posted by arnon_k On June - 30 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The price of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) used in the industrial sector will certainly be gradually increased by three baht a kilogramme per quarter, starting from July 1, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday.

“The plan to float the LPG price will be implemented early next month as scheduled. But the increase will be only three baht per kilogramme every three months, or 12 baht a year,” said Mr Abhisit, chairman of the National Energy Policy Committee.

The current price of LPG is 18.13 baht a kilogramme.

Earlier, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) had proposed that the LPG price float be delayed and that the price paid by manufacturers be raised by only three baht per kilogramme a year, not each quarter.

The FTI said the ceramic and glass industries need about three years to adapt before the LPG price is increased in line with the world market. It also believed that the interim government should not proceed on any matter that has a future effect.

The FTI said if LPG costs were raised in line with the government’s plan to free up its price, a number of manufacturers might be forced to close down, and this would lead to an unemployment.

Abhisit confident of winning

Posted by arnon_k On June - 30 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The Democrat Party will certainly win the July 3 election and have the legitimacy to form the next government, Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday.

Mr Abhisit denied the claim by Pheu Thai that the Democrat-led government had turned areas of trade with neighbouring countries into battlefields.

In fact, judging from cross-border trade figures, trade with neighbouring countries had considerably increased.

There had been problems with Cambodia but the problems were caused by previous governments under the People Power and Pheu Thai parties, Mr Abhisit said.

It was now time for the people to make an important decision – vote for Pheu Thai to get a government which is friendly to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and lose some territory, or for the Democrat Party that will protect the country’s sovereignty.

Mr Abhisit called for all concerned to look forward to the election, saying there had been no conditions which could lead to a coup.

During the past two weeks of campaigning, the Democrat Party had won more support, partly from the June 23 rally at the Ratchaprasong intersection, he said.

He called for all to accept the people’s decision in the election and believed the Democrat Party would come first and form the next government.