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Thai Charter Amendments Sail Through Final Reading


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Charter amendments sail through final reading

By The Nation

Parliament convened on Friday for the roll-call vote lasting more than three hours to approve the final reading of two draft bills for charter amendments.

For the first draft to amend Article 190, the majority of 397-to-19 votes were in favour of revising the framework of legislative scrutiny on internal agreements. Ten abstained from voting.

In the second draft to revise Articles 93-to-98, the passage to revamp the electoral system was assured by the 347-to-37 votes with 42 absentations.

The highlights of the revamped system include the switch to the single-seat constituency, known as the one-man, one-vote system, and the adoption of seat apportionment formula for 375 constituency MPs and 125 party-list MPs.

Before the vote, more than 100 opposition lawmakers walked out in protest for what they saw as unfair ruling by House speaker Chai Chidchob. A number of Pheu Thai MPs did not join the boycott and voted for the coalition as they were preparing to switch the party's banner at the next general election.

In the consultation session ahead of the vote, Pheu Thai MPs urged Chai to postpone the third and final reading of draft amendments.

They argued that they had moved a motion to question the procedures to amend the charter. The motion was filed and defeated during the second reading last month but the main opposition party wanted to revive the debate on pertinent issues.

The oppostion MPs argued for suspending the final vote and seeking the Constitution Court review on the draft. They said the draft might be unconsitutional since it failed to spell out the intent and justificaion for proposing the amendments.

They further stated the writing of the draft failed to comply with the legislative procedures due to the failure to list the provisions to be amended in the prescribed manner.

They also contested the defeat of their motion by saying the coalition mustered the majority based on those present and not the simple majority of incumbent lawmakers.

Chai overruled the opposition arguments and proceeded with the vote. The opposition lawmakers have threatened to block the promulgation of the amendments by petitioning for a judicial review.

Under the Constitution, the amendments will have to be submitted within 20 days for royal endorsement.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-11

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Looks like it's going to be another Coalition Government then.

Wouldn't be surprised if this hasn't already been agreed on? Lots of new roads?

Ha ha the cost of a coalition government.

So an election date could be called in 20 days!

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Thai constitution amendments smooth way to polls

BANGKOK, February 11, 2011 (AFP) - Thailand's parliament on Friday approved constitutional amendments that the prime minister had set as a condition for early elections, as protesters gathered in Bangkok to demand his resignation.

The legislation, approved by 347 to 37 votes, includes a switch to a single-seat constituency system from multiple seats, and an increase in the number of lawmakers elected through party-list proportional representation.

Under the new system, there will be 375 constituency-based members of parliament and 125 from party lists.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has said the amendments to the charter -- introduced following a 2006 coup and approved in a referendum the following year -- are necessary before parliament can be dissolved for snap polls.

Abhisit said Wednesday he would call a vote in the first half of this year if there was no fresh political violence.

The British-born, Oxford-educated head of the establishment Democrat Party, who came to power in 2008 through a parliamentary vote, must call an election by the end of this year, when his term finishes.

Mass protests in April and May of last year by the "Red Shirt" movement, which is broadly loyal to fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra, left 90 people dead in street clashes between demonstrators and the army.

The Reds, who where campaigning for immediate elections, have held a series of peaceful one-day rallies in the capital in recent weeks.

Rival "Yellow Shirt" nationalist activists meanwhile have been rallying near Government House calling for Abhisit to step down over his handling of a deadly border dispute with Cambodia.

Several thousand Yellows gathered in Bangkok on Friday, easily outnumbered by police officers, according to an AFP photographer.

The cabinet on Tuesday agreed to invoke the Internal Security Act in Bangkok to cope with renewed political rallies in the capital.

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-- (c) Copyright AFP 2011-02-11

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ANALYSIS

Charter change paves way for poll

By Kittipong thavevong

The Nation

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Constitution Court to rule on validity of amendment process; House dissolution likely in April if PM plans June election

Now that the government-sponsored constitutional amendments have sailed through Parliament, the countdown for an early general election is likely to begin soon.

However, much will depend on the Constitution Court's reaction to the opposition petition on whether the process is valid.

Before dissolving the House of Representatives and calling a fresh election, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva needs to consider a number of factors, in addition to the three conditions he set earlier - healthy economic recovery, acceptable election rules, and an environment favourable to election campaigning (one with no political upheaval).

With the passage of the constitutional amendments in the third reading yesterday, two of the prime minister's conditions have been met - the first being a healthy recovery from the global economic crisis.

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As for his third condition - an environment favourable to election - Abhisit appears to be less worried about the ongoing street rally by the yellow shirts compared with the red shirts' massive anti-government campaign. To him, the yellow shirts' protest over his government's handling of the border conflict with Cambodia is unlikely to create unrest comparable with that of the red shirts last year.

The red shirts have been largely calm after the yellow shirts took to the streets. The reds plan their next street demonstrations tomorrow and on February 19. It has to be seen whether those events will create any strong waves.

Abhisit has repeatedly said that he will not stay on until the current House completes its term at the end of this year, but he has never made it clear when he will call the election. This has led to various speculations about when the next election will take place - ranging from a few to several months, or even a short period before the end of the current House's four-year term in December.

When pressured persistently by reporters, Abhisit recently said a general election around the middle of the year "is possible".

If the midyear schedule is true, the House dissolution should occur some time in April so that a fresh election can be held between 45 days and 60 days after dissolution, as stated in the Constitution.

Before House dissolution, the organic electoral law will need to be amended in line with the amended constitutional clauses, such as the system of one-MP constituencies, the reduction in constituency MPs to 375, and increase in party-list MPs to 125. The process would need one or two months.

However, the prime minister earlier said no amendment to the organic law would be required, although he did not elaborate. Election commissioner Sodsri Satayathum said yesterday that the Election Commission had the power to issue an order so that the election is held in line with the amended provisions. Nevertheless, she called on the legislature to amend the organic law unless the House is dissolved too early.

Another factor to consider is the censure debate. The opposition is expected to file a no-confidence motion against the Cabinet some time between late this month and early next month. The Constitution prohibits the prime minister from dissolving the House after a censure motion has been filed.

If a censure motion is filed, the debate is likely to take place in the middle of or late in March.

Judging from the factors mentioned above, they are unlikely to prevent Abhisit from dissolving the House soon and calling an early election.

However, politicians in power normally wait for the best time to dissolve the House - it is when they have an advantage over their rivals and thus a better chance of winning the election. For the ruling Democrats, just a "better chance" may not be sufficient; they are waiting for an opportunity when they can be completely confident of an election victory.

An election around the middle of the year may be too early to achieve that level of confidence.

Politicians in power could also benefit from the midyear budget spending for fiscal 2011 on the projects implemented under their policy platforms. Implementation of those projects could please voters ahead of the election.

Also, politicians in power could influence the transfer of bureaucrats in April so that they could put their trusted officials in different constituencies ahead of the upcoming election.

Nevertheless, the governing coalition would benefit even more if it could stay longer until it can lay its hands on the state budget for fiscal 2012 and the annual transfers of bureaucrats in the latter half of the year. This possibility has convinced some observers that House dissolution will take place in August or September.

But staying in power longer does not mean a better chance of winning the election. Chuan Leekpai, Abhisit's mentor and former Democrat leader, stayed on to complete his term when he served as prime minister for the second time after the financial crisis of 1997. But the Democrat Party failed to return to power after the subsequent general election in 2001.

Abhisit will have a hard time making his decision about when to dissolve the House. But the most important consideration for him is likely to be the Democrat Party's best chance of winning the election.

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-- The Nation 2011-02-12

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Amazing - the most important and insightful news of the day gets no comments. That speaks volumes about TV lol. If it bleeds it leads, apparently.

I am more suprised by the total lack of thread about the voiding of Da Torpedo,s sentence and some wikileaks of certain diplomatic cables about Thailand .

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Amazing - the most important and insightful news of the day gets no comments. That speaks volumes about TV lol. If it bleeds it leads, apparently.

I am more suprised by the total lack of thread about the voiding of Da Torpedo,s sentence and some wikileaks of certain diplomatic cables about Thailand .

OT, I know ...

Here's a post in the daily thread Is there anything to discuss about them? "LM laws are bad." Next.

Given the sensitive nature of those diplomatic cables, and the LM laws (regardless of how bad they are, they are still laws), do you think TV would start a thread about them. But they were discussed in many of the wikileaks threads. I'm sure you read all of those.

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Amazing - the most important and insightful news of the day gets no comments. That speaks volumes about TV lol. If it bleeds it leads, apparently.

I am more suprised by the total lack of thread about the voiding of Da Torpedo,s sentence and some wikileaks of certain diplomatic cables about Thailand .

OT, I know ...

Given the sensitive nature of those diplomatic cables, and the LM laws (regardless of how bad they are, they are still laws), do you think TV would start a thread about them. But they were discussed in many of the wikileaks threads. I'm sure you read all of those.

Thanks for confirming that censorship is practised by TV.

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Thanks for confirming that censorship is practised by TV.

It's called obeying the law. If they don't, they get shut down, or worse. Do you want George to be in the same place as Da Torpedo?

I don't agree with the particular laws. But it's still the law.

Edited by whybother
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Only 100 PTP walk out? Wow! We are witnessing the shattering of a party.

The other 85 PTP MP's are looking to shift parties to Buam Jai Thai or Democrats or .....

It was always expected that the amendments would pass but the numbers are perhaps the most surprising.

It gives a great indication as to what a vote in a general election would be like.

Seems Thaksin for all his phone in,s hasnt been able to keep his party together.

Said some time ago that I thought the next Govt would be a coalition between the Dems and a breakaway faction of the PTP.

Looks like this could come to pass.

Doubt the PM has ever been really happy to have Newin and his gang along for the ride.

But then again if some defect to the Dems they could just get enough seats to go it alone.

Whatever way you look at to PTP seems dead.

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Only 100 PTP walk out? Wow! We are witnessing the shattering of a party.

The other 85 PTP MP's are looking to shift parties to Buam Jai Thai or Democrats or .....

...Said some time ago that I thought the next Govt would be a coalition between the Dems and a breakaway faction of the PTP.

Looks like this could come to pass.

Doubt the PM has ever been really happy to have Newin and his gang along for the ride.

But then again if some defect to the Dems they could just get enough seats to go it alone.

Whatever way you look at to PTP seems dead.

It is already is a coalition with a break away from PPP/PTP,

but it might be a more amenable second breakaway party this round.

Two reasons.

No doubts many MPs are not happy being ordered to boycot,

votes on things their constituents, rather than Thaksin's bosses, would like their reps voting on. here are no doubt many who would like to be more their own men doing their job as the see it, and not be hectored as traitors by the Thaksin proxy whips.

And also because the Dems no doubt want to prevent Newin's crew from feeling they have carte blanc.

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A number of Pheu Thai MPs did not join the boycott and voted for the coalition as they were preparing to switch the party's banner at the next general election.

Cracks in the house...

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Amazing - the most important and insightful news of the day gets no comments. That speaks volumes about TV lol. If it bleeds it leads, apparently.

I am more suprised by the total lack of thread about the voiding of Da Torpedo,s sentence and some wikileaks of certain diplomatic cables about Thailand .

OT, I know ...

Given the sensitive nature of those diplomatic cables, and the LM laws (regardless of how bad they are, they are still laws), do you think TV would start a thread about them. But they were discussed in many of the wikileaks threads. I'm sure you read all of those.

Thanks for confirming that censorship is practised by TV.

I spoke with a senior mod in relation to me bringing this topic to their attention as a possible thread. As some what expected the response was essentially: ( my phrasing)

'The onerous moderator load for this lone topic would be 24/7 constant monitoring of every posting by more than one mod to keep up, since members here have proved repeatedly that they WILL post illegal comments repeatedly and put the whole of TVF and individual members liable for prosecution under LM laws.'

Since we KNOW both sides of the political spectrum monitor TVF and try to manipulate news content and opinion, anything over the edge would very, very quickly come to the attention of some legal entity with prejudice in mind.

So if you want to say it is censored go ahead,

but it is preemptively stopping what would clearly be a TVF food fight, and one where combatants are already known to break the law repeatedly in older similar threads. Thus it was not opened as a thread, regardless of the newsworthiness, which I agree on, and the importance to society. I tend to lump this in with yelling fire in a crowded theater.

This is not discussing moderation calls per se, just providing a reasoning for a logical decision on their part.

Edited by animatic
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OT, I know ...

Given the sensitive nature of those diplomatic cables, and the LM laws (regardless of how bad they are, they are still laws), do you think TV would start a thread about them. But they were discussed in many of the wikileaks threads. I'm sure you read all of those.

Thanks for confirming that censorship is practised by TV.

I spoke with a senior mod in relation to me bringing this topic to their attention as a possible thread. As some what expected the response was essentially: ( my phrasing)

'The onerous moderator load for this lone topic would be 24/7 constant monitoring of every posting by more than one mod to keep up, since members here have proved repeatedly that they WILL post illegal comments repeatedly and put the whole of TVF and individual members liable for prosecution under LM laws.'

Since we KNOW both sides of the political spectrum monitor TVF and try to manipulate news content and opinion, anything over the edge would very, very quickly come to the attention of some legal entity with prejudice in mind.

So if you want to say it is censored go ahead,

but it is preemptively stopping what would clearly be a TVF food fight, and one where combatants are already known to break the law repeatedly in older similar threads. Thus it was not opened as a thread, regardless of the newsworthiness, which I agree on, and the importance to society. I tend to lump this in with yelling fire in a crowded theater.

This is not discussing moderation calls per se, just providing a reasoning for a logical decision on their part.

... and it is a logical protectionism by the mods. Many frown and jest about Thai Visa Forum but it has its place and certainly some comments get read by Thai's in a position to do things so it should never be threatened with closure. Good call in my opinion and good you brought it up with them.

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