July 11, 2013 00:00
By Anuphan Chantana
Thammasat University researchers have chosen not to make any conclusions on their study about the charter amendment while the government is waiting for the study results of two other universities.
Thammasat University deputy rector Prinya Thaewanarumitkul said the researchers were split on whether the charter can be newly drafted. One group believed that it was not possible, because drafting a new charter would effectively cancel the current one, which is illegal, while the other group believed it was possible because the practice had been adopted twice in the country’s history.
Over the question of whether the government should conduct a public referendum to get consensus before drafting a new charter, or whether it should conduct a public referendum after drafting a new charter, some Thammasat University researchers believed providing recommendations could result in negative political consequences, especially if the government decided not follow recommendations and another group of researchers believed calling a public referendum after drafting a new charter was against the Constitutional Court recommendation. They said the court recommended conducting a referendum before drafting a charter.
Responding to the third question the government was asked on whether it can hold a referendum to get public approval on drafting a new constitution before Parliament votes in the third reading on amendment, detailing some provisions of the charter, one group believed drafting a new charter was a violation of the charter so a public referendum cannot be held over the point while the other group said holding a public referendum in accordance with Article 165 of the Constitution is legitimate, and they approved the move to amend the charter.
Deputy Prime Minister Pongthep Thepkanchana said the government would wait for the studies from Chulalongkorn University and Ramkhamhaeng University before submitting all studies to Parliament for consideration.
He said Parliament could continue deliberating charter amendment without having to wait for the study results.