Pheu Thai challenges Constitution Court order

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BANGKOK, June 5 – Thailand’s ruling Pheu Thai Party on Tuesday issued its position statement saying the Constitution Court has no authority to order the suspension of House deliberation of the draft charter amendment and asked the Court to review its decision. 

The Pheu Thai move came as the Court agreed to consider the legality of the draft constitutional amendment and issue an injunction to suspend the process until a formal court ruling, as it accepted five petitions lodged by a group of Senators and Democrat MPs questioning the legality of the draft.

The vote on the third reading of the amendment was earlier set for today but the action could not proceed after the court action.

Reading the party statement, Pheu Thai Secretary-General Jarupong Ruangsuwan said Article 68 of Constitution states that a petition on such a case must be submitted via the Office of the Attorney-General to consider whether or not the request has grounds before forwarding the case to the Court.

On this case, the petitioners filed their complaint to the OAG and then submitted it to the Constitution Court without deliberation by the OAG, the statement said, meaning the court accepted to consider the case before the OAG considered it.

The statement reiterated that the Constitution Court could not act beyond its authority and the rule of law and that its order to suspend the parliamentary process was done without authority.

The Pheu Thai reasoned there is no need for the Parliament to follow the court order.

The statement noted that the legislative power is one of the three powers of the Sovereignty and is not under the judicial power.

The OAG however on Tuesday said it would not infringe the decision of the Constitution Court and that it will further discuss the matter on Thursday.

Pheu Thai party spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the party issued the statement believing that the court order might violate the constitution.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung asserted that the Constitution Court has no authority to order the suspension of the vote on the third reading of the draft.

Mr Chalerm said he believed the judges could face impeachment if the court still insists on its order.

Regarding the petition of the opposition Democrat Party lawmakers calling on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to issue a draft royal decree closing the current House session to defuse political standoff, Mr Chalerm said the issue was not raised at today’s Cabinet meeting.

In the latest development, some key leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), the red shirt movement, said they will gather supporters at the Government Complex on Chaeng Wattana Road tomorrow to show their opposition to the Constitution Court decision.

Weng Tojirakarn, a leading UDD leader who is also a Pheu Thai MP, said the court decision is unlawful and that it has no authority to issue an injunction to suspend the parliamentary process.

Mr Weng added that the Red Shirts will collect signatures to seek the impeachment of the Court’s judges, and that it will take about two weeks to collect the names.

However, the move had nothing to do with the Pheu Thai party as it was not a resolution of all the UDD key leaders.