PAD will not yet call for mass rally against constitutional amendment

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BANGKOK, March 10 — The People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) aka the ‘Yellow Shirts’ said it has no plans yet for a mass rally against the Constitution amendment but would wait and see whether the amendment affected the monarchy or helped fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra avoid arrest and imprisonment.

The PAD on Saturday gathered at Lumpini Park to organise a seminar evaluating the current political situation, to discuss and brainstorm on the direction of the PAD.

PAD spokesman Panthep Puapongpan told a press conference that the PAD leaders have resolved not to hold a mass rally against the Constitution amendment at the moment but would apply a wait-and-see approach until it was clear whether or not the amendment would affect the monarchy or if it was aimed at helping Mr Thaksin.

He said the PAD has also resolved to travel to meet people nationwide to inform the public about the failure of the “Parliamentary Dictatorship” and proposed measures to reform the country.

The PAD has agreed to set up a committee to campaign for national reform where members would be represented by all walk of lives, he said.

Mr Panthep said that according to the survey, the PAD wanted to see major political reform, but it was not timely for mass rally until the military, judges and other groups that have authority agreed to join the public sector to push for the reform.

Key PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang said that the gathering today has shown that the PAD was ready to come out and gather whenever there was any problem in the country.

A joint parliamentary session of the House of Representatives and Senate voted last month to support three bills seeking to amend the Constitution, as the government’s version would be the main draft for consideration by the vetting committee.

All three drafts proposed the amendment of only Section 291 of the 2007 Constitution, each seeking to set up a Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA), but with differing numbers of members and different selection processes.

After the vote, a 45-member vetting committee was appointed to prepare for the next readings of the amendment bills. The panel consists of 10 senators and 35 MPs.