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Call To 'abort' Constitution Changes Spurs Debate, Warning: Thailand

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CHARTER AMENDMENT

Call to 'abort' constitution changes spurs debate, warning

The Nation

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EC commissioner warns it's illegal to tell people not to vote in referendum

BANGKOK: -- Opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva's call for eligible voters to "abort" a planned national referendum on amending the constitution sparked a widespread debate yesterday.

The ruling Pheu Thai Party accused Abhisit of failing to adhere to the democratic principle of respect for the majority voice.

An election commissioner also warned that any move to deceive, intimidate, or influence eligible voters to not exercise their voting right was against the Public Referendum Act. This was a criminal offence punishable by up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to Bt200,000.

Abhisit clarified his statement yesterday, saying he meant people should help abort the government attempt to write an entirely new constitution in order to help former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra out of legal problems.

"I did not mean the referendum should be blocked," said Abhisit, who is the Democrat Party leader and the former prime minister.

A Democrat legal expert, MP Wiratana Kalayasiri, said yesterday he believed eligible voters who oppose the government's move to rewrite the charter have the right to stage "civil disobedience" by not going to vote, as well as simply voting against it. He said that unlike a general election, when eligible voters have a duty to vote, people have the right to choose whether to vote in a referendum.

The Constitution states that in order for a public referendum to become effective, at least half of the eligible voters must come out to exercise their voting right.

"The most effective way [against the charter rewrite move] is not to turn out to vote. When the turnout is high, it is unlikely there will be more No votes than Yes votes," Wiratana said.

He added, however, that the idea was not a resolution by the party. He said the matter would be discussed at a Democrat meeting in Hua Hin today.

In an open letter he posted on his Facebook page on Sunday, Abhisit accused the Yingluck government of attempting to write a new constitution so that Article 309 of the current charter would be removed for Thaksin's interest.

"Everybody can help by aborting the referendum. … Let's come together to abort the referendum that will allow constitutional amendment for a fugitive. Let's move past Thaksin and bring the country forward," Abhisit said.

The final clause of the charter guarantees all acts recognised by the post-coup Interim Constitution of 2006 are lawful and constitutional. These include moves by the coup makers and orders against the Thaksin government, which they described as corrupt.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday denied her government's charter move aimed to help her brother Thaksin. "The constitutional amendment will be for the interest of the country and the people," she said.

Senior Democrat MP Ong-art Klampaiboon said yesterday the party would not try to obstruct the planned public referendum. "The Democrat Party will never take any action that is illegal," he said.

Election commissioner Sodsri Satayathum, when asked to comment on the campaign for no-show of eligible voters, warned yesterday that it was against the law for anyone to deceive, intimidate or influence eligible voters not to exercise their right. People opposed to a rewrite of the Constitution should instead call for opponents to vote No.

Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsap said yesterday that Abhisit's call showed he failed to adhere to democratic principles, as he ignored the majority voice.

He said the Democrat Party should campaign for supporters of their cause to vote No in the plebiscite instead.

Meanwhile, PM's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn said Justice Minister Police Gen Pracha Promnok was prepared to put a proposal to hold a referendum to the Cabinet today.

He said he worried that Abhisit's remark would confuse people as the government was about to propose holding a referendum but the content and specific question had yet to be discussed.

Abhisit seemed to be opposed to any amendment of the charter. His statement was against democracy, but at least it did not promote people not exercising their voting right, Varathep said.

Conditions for public hearing

A number of votes are required to hold a referendum. According to the Constitution and Referendum Act, two figures are involved in conducting a national referendum.

Since the country has 46 million eligible voters, a referendum will be legitimate only if over 23 million people participate.

Article 9 of the Referendum Act, an organic law, states that a referendum requires more than half of eligible voters to come to vote and the resolution of the referendum must come from the majority of the turnout.

The charter rewrite as proposed by the government can be deemed as receiving support from the people only if more than 11.5 million people out of over 23 million vote for it.

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-- The Nation 2012-12-18

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Mr. Abhisit up to his normal modus-operandi.....that is 'change the conversation' . In this case seeking to divert attention away from reform of a coup-based charter from which he was the ultimate beneficiary, to talking about simplistic motives by its' supporters. Supporters who happen to be the electoral majority, considering the election of Ms. Y's Govt, who made no secret during the election campaign of favoring constitution reform.

When one couples this with his oft "change of conversation" from R'song deaths to "Men In Black", it is no wonder that he is despised by a large block of the electorate. When mentioning Abhisit to this majority electoral block, it is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

It puzzles me why the Democrat Party continues to think it can achieve electoral objectives with him at the helm. Other Democracies would have dumped such a leader long ago.

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Mr. Abhisit up to his normal modus-operandi.....that is 'change the conversation' . In this case seeking to divert attention away from reform of a coup-based charter from which he was the ultimate beneficiary, to talking about simplistic motives by its' supporters. Supporters who happen to be the electoral majority, considering the election of Ms. Y's Govt, who made no secret during the election campaign of favoring constitution reform.

When one couples this with his oft "change of conversation" from R'song deaths to "Men In Black", it is no wonder that he is despised by a large block of the electorate. When mentioning Abhisit to this majority electoral block, it is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

It puzzles me why the Democrat Party continues to think it can achieve electoral objectives with him at the helm. Other Democracies would have dumped such a leader long ago.

How can anyone take you seriously? Yesterday you were on here saying the red shirts had nothing against Abhisit, that they just wanted an election and here you are saying they despise him!

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Rather than being encouraged not to vote, they should be encouraged to vote No.

Encouraging the No voters not to vote will only lead to a win for the Yes side.

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Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday denied her government's charter move aimed to help her brother Thaksin. "The constitutional amendment will be for the interest of the country and the people," she said.
Does anybody believes that white fat lie?blink.png

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On the bare facts of it, what is the difference between the amendment of the constitution to provide those that undertook the coup immunity from prosecution, and the fact they now want to amend it again to null the conviction against Thaksin.

Personally i think they should just forget about changing the constitution but they are obviously hell bent on doing it. I would imagine it is going to be difficult to stop it given it has happened so many times in the past, and no doubt it will in the future.

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'A commissioner also warned that any attempt to intimidate, deceive or otherwise influence the vote' would be against the law, did the EC say that before the last election?

Sent from my GT-N7100 using Thaivisa Connect App

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I suspect the EC rules are being taken out of context here - they are there to prevent intimidation and protect peoples right to choose, I hardly think AV's comments are infringing on either, it's not as if he's threatening anyone

more stupidity

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'A commissioner also warned that any attempt to intimidate, deceive or otherwise influence the vote' would be against the law, did the EC say that before the last election?

Sent from my GT-N7100 using Thaivisa Connect App

This won't happen!! Only the reds are good at that

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Mr. Abhisit up to his normal modus-operandi.....that is 'change the conversation' . In this case seeking to divert attention away from reform of a coup-based charter from which he was the ultimate beneficiary, to talking about simplistic motives by its' supporters. Supporters who happen to be the electoral majority, considering the election of Ms. Y's Govt, who made no secret during the election campaign of favoring constitution reform.

When one couples this with his oft "change of conversation" from R'song deaths to "Men In Black", it is no wonder that he is despised by a large block of the electorate. When mentioning Abhisit to this majority electoral block, it is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

It puzzles me why the Democrat Party continues to think it can achieve electoral objectives with him at the helm. Other Democracies would have dumped such a leader long ago.

How can anyone take you seriously? Yesterday you were on here saying the red shirts had nothing against Abhisit, that they just wanted an election and here you are saying they despise him!

>Yes, I did say that yesterday Moruya. At R'song, their target was not Abhisit or the Democrat led Government at the time. Their objective was to reverse the coup that put an electoral minority Govt. in place, and seek to rectify the matter via an election. The subsequent election did that. So no anti-Abhisit-Govt-Democrat Party.

>Getting back to Abhisit, I really think he is retarding the advance of the Democrat Party. I happen to be a firm believer in at least a two-party system. Forget about those non-ideological minority parties which are merely fiefdoms of individuals masquerading as political parties.

>His biggest impediment is never having won a national, popular election. His only elevation to prominence has been via Parliamentary machinations. As much as his supporters try to characterize them as normative, and try to amplify and imbue those shenanigans with electoral validity, it just doesn't fly. Anyone in the know, know what happened.

>But is there a leader within the Democrat Party who could lead them out of this political morass and move their political orientation to the middle of the political spectrum? I hope so, and that they find him/her soon. A competitive election is in everyone's interests.

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>Yes, I did say that yesterday Moruya. At R'song, their target was not Abhisit or the Democrat led Government at the time. Their objective was to reverse the coup that put an electoral minority Govt. in place, and seek to rectify the matter via an election. The subsequent election did that. So no anti-Abhisit-Govt-Democrat Party.

You should have heard some of the vile filth being spouted from the stage then, not to mention the various images etc shown during that time around the protest area...

The Reds were very much against Abhisit and wanted him dead - in fact as i remember they attacked his car and wounded his driver when they discovered he wasn't inside the car....

Do you still believe the 2010 Ratchaprasong protests were not against Abhisit, really?

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Mr. Abhisit up to his normal modus-operandi.....that is 'change the conversation' . In this case seeking to divert attention away from reform of a coup-based charter from which he was the ultimate beneficiary, to talking about simplistic motives by its' supporters. Supporters who happen to be the electoral majority, considering the election of Ms. Y's Govt, who made no secret during the election campaign of favoring constitution reform.

When one couples this with his oft "change of conversation" from R'song deaths to "Men In Black", it is no wonder that he is despised by a large block of the electorate. When mentioning Abhisit to this majority electoral block, it is like waving a red flag in front of a bull.

It puzzles me why the Democrat Party continues to think it can achieve electoral objectives with him at the helm. Other Democracies would have dumped such a leader long ago.

How can anyone take you seriously? Yesterday you were on here saying the red shirts had nothing against Abhisit, that they just wanted an election and here you are saying they despise him!

>Yes, I did say that yesterday Moruya. At R'song, their target was not Abhisit or the Democrat led Government at the time. Their objective was to reverse the coup that put an electoral minority Govt. in place, and seek to rectify the matter via an election. The subsequent election did that. So no anti-Abhisit-Govt-Democrat Party.

>Getting back to Abhisit, I really think he is retarding the advance of the Democrat Party. I happen to be a firm believer in at least a two-party system. Forget about those non-ideological minority parties which are merely fiefdoms of individuals masquerading as political parties.

>His biggest impediment is never having won a national, popular election. His only elevation to prominence has been via Parliamentary machinations. As much as his supporters try to characterize them as normative, and try to amplify and imbue those shenanigans with electoral validity, it just doesn't fly. Anyone in the know, know what happened.

>But is there a leader within the Democrat Party who could lead them out of this political morass and move their political orientation to the middle of the political spectrum? I hope so, and that they find him/her soon. A competitive election is in everyone's interests.

I think you've skipped a bit of history. The coup put in place a junta government, then I believe shortly after, an appointed "civilian" (but still effectively junta) government. The part that you forgot is that there were then elections. The minority PPP formed a coalition government. Is that the government that the red shirts were protesting against?

"Parliamentary machinations" is the way that the TRT first got into power, and the way that the PPP got into power. Is it OK when your own side does it??

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Pheu Thai deputy spokesman Jirayu Huangsap said yesterday that Abhisit's call showed he failed to adhere to democratic principles, as he ignored the majority voice.

That's an interesting interpretation of

Since the country has 46 million eligible voters, a referendum will be legitimate only if over 23 million people participate.

Article 9 of the Referendum Act, an organic law, states that a referendum requires more than half of eligible voters to come to vote and the resolution of the referendum must come from the majority of the turnout.

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Rather than being encouraged not to vote, they should be encouraged to vote No.

Encouraging the No voters not to vote will only lead to a win for the Yes side.

The above works only if more voters against than for the referendum turn-out to vote.

To vote or not to vote is a two edged sword.

If less than 50% turn out to vote, what ever the count is it is null and void - end of story.

If 51% turn out and the yes vote gets 1 vote more than the no votes - then it is a yes decision, therefore the no voters would have been better staying at home or vice versa depending on your views of the referendum.

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>Yes, I did say that yesterday Moruya. At R'song, their target was not Abhisit or the Democrat led Government at the time. Their objective was to reverse the coup that put an electoral minority Govt. in place, and seek to rectify the matter via an election. The subsequent election did that. So no anti-Abhisit-Govt-Democrat Party.

You should have heard some of the vile filth being spouted from the stage then, not to mention the various images etc shown during that time around the protest area...

The Reds were very much against Abhisit and wanted him dead - in fact as i remember they attacked his car and wounded his driver when they discovered he wasn't inside the car....

Do you still believe the 2010 Ratchaprasong protests were not against Abhisit, really?

You're absolutely right he wasn't in the car!

But, he kept claiming he was. Bigging himself up.

He fibbed.

Returning to topic abhisit seems to be calling for a boycott on this proposed vote much as his party boycotted the election before the coup.

Reason then given that Thailand was an elective dictatorship. What claptrap.

What he wants is a low turnout so that the coup charter cannot be changed.

He may be disappointed.

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BANGKOK 22 August 2018 03:18
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