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Pheu Thai vows to respect court verdict on charter

Key figures from the ruling Pheu Thai Party yesterday promised to respect a ruling by the Constitution Court in the charter amendment case, although some of them warned against a verdict that "goes against the public's desire".

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said yesterday he believed the Constitution Court would not rule against public feelings regarding the charter amendment, otherwise the country would be faced with political turmoil.

He said the proposed amendment to Article 291 of the Constitution is aimed at selecting 99 charter writers who would draft a new charter and the public would get to vote if they agree with the new charter. If they reject it, the matter is put to rest, Chalerm said.

He said he would be happy if the court meets MPs half way by allowing amendment of some articles that are ambiguous. He urged the media not to cause panic among the public by suggesting that a court decision could result in party dissolution. He added that even if the Pheu Thai is dissolved, the government would still survive.

Deputy PM and Pheu Thai leader Yongyuth Wichaidit said after giving his testimony to the court he believed the ruling, scheduled for Friday, would be fair. He said Pheu Thai would respect the court decision.

"I cannot say that I am confident the court will rule in our party's favour because my answer could be used in newspaper headlines and that could be a double-edged sword,'' he said. He said all political groups have the right to express their feelings after the court ruling but they must abide by the law.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsap said the party would accept the court's decision and has assigned Pheu Thai MPs to create understanding among the public. The party called on legal experts to express their views on amending Article 291.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said she was not giving any thought to the dissolution of the Pheu Thai Party as a result of the court ruling, adding she would rather wait for the ruling and decide after that.

Speaker Somsak Kiatsuranont said he would submit a closing statement to the court on Wednesday. Asked how he would speculate on the ruling, Somsak, a Pheu Thai MP, said he was ready to step back if it could prevent the country from plunging into a crisis and killings among Thais.

Democrat Party deputy leader Thaworn Senneam urged red-shirt leader Thida Thawornset not to mobilise the masses to pressure the court or sabotage its credibility.

Thaworn said he had submitted video discs as evidence to show how red shirts threaten to topple the country's democratic regime. He said whether the reds would rally against the court decision or not would depend on whether ex-PM Thaksin could pay.


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