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Sun, May 6, 2007 : Last updated 20:39 pm (Thai local time)

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Home > Politics > TRT tees up raft of constitution-change proposals

TRT tees up raft of constitution-change proposals

The Thai Rak Thai Party will propose four changes at Tuesday's meeting with the prime minister and major political parties to discuss the draft constitution.

The party first disagrees with an appointed Senate as it reflects a condescending view of the electorate as not sound of mind enough to elect senators.

The party also opposes Article 299, which provides a de-facto amnesty to the military junta that staged the September coup.

The party is against the undermining of politicians' authority, citing article 173, which states that ministers who are MPs cannot vote for a prime minister facing a censure motion.

Also Articles 257 and 259 bar politicians from interfering in the work of bureaucrats, which the party argued would make it difficult for administrations to implement their policies.

Their last reservation has to do with the fear of a return of bureaucratic rule in government, with too much power handed to officials and the courts, which would probably attract political interference.

Acting deputy party leader Pongthep Thepkanjana said acting party leader Chaturon Chaisang would present the party's position, which had come out of yesterday's meeting on the issue.

Meanwhile, Justice Minister Charnchai Likhitjittha said it was best not to drag judges into politics as proposed in Article 68, which requires that they play a role as part of a special council to help solve a political crisis.

Charnchai said it was unlikely that a situation like last year would recur and anyhow judges should contribute to solving a political crisis on an ad-hoc and informal basis.

He urged the public, however, to wait and see the final draft before deciding whether to accept or reject the junta-sponsored charter.

A group of people with physical disabilities also met and threatened to stage a mass protest of 4,000 on May 22 if the draft charter did not guarantee equal rights and access to facilities for the disabled.

They met in Nong Khai to vet Article 53, which they deemed inadequate. They want the word "welfare" to be used instead of "dole" ("songkhro").

They said they had always been let down by past charters and hoped that the new one would be different.

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