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Thailand PM proposes debate on Charter amendments

Written By vibykhmer on Sunday, September 6, 2009 | 6:04 AM

BANGKOK, Sept. 6 (Xinhua) -- Thai Prime Minister said Sunday he will ask the Cabinet to discuss whether to approve a parliamentary debate on proposed constitutional amendments aimed at national reconciliation, while the opposition party opposed the debate idea, Thai News Agency reported.

Speaking in his weekly television and radio address, Abhisit Vejjajiva said he believed the debate, if held by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, could help improve and bring normalcy to Thai politics.

He said that MPs had not had a chance to express their response to reports submitted by the parliamentary committee recommending revisions to the charter amendment.

Citing that the Constitution rules only a certain, important subjects could be debated during the current extraordinary session of Parliament, Abhisit said it is necessary, therefore, for the Cabinet to have discussions on Tuesday's meeting and to approve the planned debate in advance.

Meanwhile, Plodprasob Suraswadi, deputy leader of the opposition Puea Thai Party, said his party opposed a planned joint debate, considering that both the prime minister and his ruling Democrat Party were only "buying time and not sincere on amending the constitution."

Plodprasob said his party expects support from about 170 senators on the charter amendment and it would be "better if the entire Constitution is amended."

The Puea Thai Party believes that the current 2007 Constitution is "not democratic, is the root cause of divisiveness and is a product of the coup," said Plodprasob, adding that the time has come for the amendment.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thuagsuban said Friday that the coalition parties will meet for a second time in the next few days to push for charter rewrite, dismissing the allegation about the government's indifference on the matter, seen as a first step to foster reconciliation.

A House panel on political reform and charter amendment on July16 submitted a report to Abhisit, proposing changes to six areas of the 2007 constitution, including repealing the five-year ban on certain politicians.

The panel suggested the return of rights to politicians affected by laws introduced under the 2007 constitution, such as the former executives of dissolved political parties who have been banned from politics for five years.

Thailand has undergone political unrest since September 2006, when the then Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was ousted by a coup. Later Thai Constitutional Court banned him, his party and political allies from office for five years.

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