Thursday, April 04, 2013

Abhisit Fights Back on Thai Constitution

Abhisit Strikes Back with Flowers

Abhisit is back and he has a point. Why do new governments in Thailand always want to insert a completely new constitution? It's a ridulous tradition that fouls up political process for years.

Abhisit strikes back

Published: 5 Apr 2013 via Bangkok Post

I am disappointed that your editorial on Wednesday misrepresented my position regarding the issue of amending the constitution and failed to study the details of the current proposed amendments. My position for this matter has never wavered. I did say that the constitution should be amended and, during my administration, we passed two amendments in line with the recommendations of an all-party committee set up by the then parliament president.

Regarding my support for the election of senators, I have always insisted that this must come with a review of the power of the Senate. If we wanted a politically neutral Senate, we have to think about how not to fall into the same trap that we did during Thaksin Shinawatra's time in power. What's unacceptable with the current proposal is that it removes term limits and does not stipulate an electoral system (both stipulated in the 1997 constitution), which helps reduce interference by political parties and provincial powers.

Concerning the disbanding of political parties, while I agree that parties should not be disbanded because of electoral fraud, my stance has always been that executives and members of executive boards should take responsibility for any illegal actions that they are party to, or aware of, but fail to prevent. This is not what the current proposal seeks to do. Worse, it then goes on to remove the rights of individuals to take political parties whose actions undermine the constitution to the Constitution Court.

As for Article 190, we never supported going back to the pre-2007 charter where major international agreements on economic and trade need not be deliberated in parliament.

So please check your facts, look at previous parliamentary studies and expose the people who have truly been inconsistent and are now distorting the all-party recommendations. As leader of the Democrat Party, I can assure you that we have performed our duties during the past three days in parliament with the nation's interest at heart.

ABHISIT VEJJAJIVA
Leader of the Opposition

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