11 July 2024

The opposition Pheu Thai party today (Thursday) issued a statement reconfirming its call for the creation of a Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) and amendment of Section 256 of the Charter, to pave the way for wider changes to the supreme law, without touching the issues of the Monarchy or Thai sovereignty.

Key party members, led by leader Sompong Amornvivat and Secretary-General Anudit Nakorntap, showed solidarity during a news conference at Parliament, to restate the party’s position on constitutional amendments, in an apparent response to fierce criticism from the another opposition party, Kao Klai.

In the statement, the party maintained that its proposal, to create the CDA and draft a new Constitution, to be approved in a referendum, is the best option, noting that this can only be successful when all parties, and at least 84 senators, support it. The party claimed that its option has cross party support, as well as that of students and the general public.

It rejected the Kao Klai party’s proposal, which is to amend Sections 269, 270 and 272, to reduce the role and powers of the Senate, and the writing of a new charter, including Chapters 1 and 2 regarding Thai sovereignty and the Monarchy.

It said that Kao Klai party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, Secretary-General Rangsiman Rome and Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, former Secretary-General of the now defunct Future Forward party, had approved Pheu Thai’s draft motion on constitutional amendments on August 13th.

Three days later, however, all Kao Klai’s 21 MPs withdrew their support, on the grounds that Pheu Thai does not want to touch Chapters 1 and 2, said the statement.

The party said that it has adopted a resolution not to support the Kao Klai motion because “The Pheu Thai party, since its predecessors, the Thai Rak Thai and Palang Prachachon, both dissolved by the Constitutional Court, and its members and supporters have been harassed all along by dictatorships, but we have patience and tolerance to fight for democracy and righteousness tirelessly. We hope the country will be in peace and become genuinely democratic, so everyone will have a future and hope which can be realized,” said Anudit.

Phu Thai chief whip Suthin Klangsaeng said that the party found retaining the Senate’s powers is undemocratic, adding “There is no reason for us to keep the Senate’s powers. We agree with amending Section 272 to reduce its powers, but it should be the CDA that amends the section.”

Mr. Suthin pointed out that the Pheu Thai party believes that there is only a slim chance that an amendment of Section 272 will be successful, “So, we chose the safe approach and to keep Section 272 for the next time, when the timing is right, rather than risking the effort to amend the charter falling apart,” he added.