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Deputy PM backs protesters’ demand for constitutional reform

Jack Burton

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PHOTO: Tasty Thailand

Deputy PM and Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul is backing the key demand of student protesters to rewrite Thailand’s Constitution. Responding to activists’ calls for the dissolution of Parliament, the leader of the Bhumjaithai Party said yesterday such a move would be pointless without prior constitutional amendment.

Speaking at the party’s annual meeting, Anutin, leader of second-largest partner in the current coalition government (with 61 elected MPs), says the party is willing to listen to the voices of civil society.

The latest Thai constitution was voted for in 2017 and enshrined into law. An unofficial English translation can be found HERE.

“It is ready to amend the charter, but it “must be done under a political framework.”

“The party is ready for constitutional amendments, but it should be done under the law. A constitutional amendment assembly should be set up to draft a new one, together with a referendum procedure to approve it.”

“The dissolution of parliament would be the next step as part of a process under the democratic system. I disagree with an immediate dissolution without an amendment first because there would be no change to the result.”

Anutin says he realises his party must listen carefully to calls from civil society so violence can be prevented and the government can make the right decisions. He warned, though, that any protest movement should take into account the need for precautions against the spread of Covid-19, such as sanitary practices, washing hands, wearing masks and social distancing.

As the Covid-19 situation has improved – there have been no cases of domestic transmission for just over 2 months – political rallies have begun in many places around the country, mainly led by students. They are calling for the dissolution of Parliament, for the government to respect civil rights and for a new Constitution.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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Jack Burton is an American writer, broadcaster, linguist and journalist who has lived in Asia since 1987. A native of the state of Georgia, he attended the The University of Georgia's Henry Grady School of Journalism, which hands out journalism's prestigious Peabody Awards. His works have appeared in The China Post, The South China Morning Post, The International Herald Tribune and many magazines throughout Asia and the world. He is fluent in Mandarin and has appeared on television and radio for decades in Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong and Macau.

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