PM to forward Constitution Court ruling on charter amendment to Council of State


BANGKOK, July 14 – Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra said on Saturday that she will forward the ruling of Constitution Court to the Council of State for deliberation on the next steps.

The prime minister made her remarks after the Constitution Court on Friday ruled that amending the constitution is lawful, and rejected a petition opposing the government’s attempt to amend the charter.

Ms Yingluck, who has returned from the ASEAN foreign ministers meeting in Phnom Penh, said she will send the court ruling to the Council of State to lay out possibility of the next procedures before pursuing the charter amendment.

The Council of State’s recommendations then will be raised in the cabinet meeting, said the premier, adding that the charter amendment will be done under parliamentary mechanism.

Ms Yingluck reaffirmed that the ruling Pheu Thai Party will push ahead with a constitutional amendment as the issue was part of the party’s election campaign.

The premier said she believed the ruling will not delay the charter amendment process, while expressing her gratitude that the public heard the court ruling in a peaceful manner.

In the crucial verdict, the eight-judge bench voted unanimously that there were insufficient grounds to support the complainants regarding alleged attempts to overthrow Thailand’s constitutional monarchy. Therefore the court rejected the petition.

Filed by five complainants, including lawmakers, the petition claimed the ruling Pheu Thai Party’s move to rewrite the charter and to set up a constitution drafting assembly was tantamount to an attempt to topple the constitutional monarchy.

The court however said the constitution could be amended article by article, but not be entirely rewritten.

Regarding an attempt to amend Article 291 to pave the way for the entire charter to be rewritten, the court ruled that since the current 2007 constitution won a referendum, the move to set up a charter drafting assembly to rewrite the entire referendum-sanctioned supreme law is not possible without another referendum.

The court ruling is seen by critics as a compromise which helped ease mounting political tensions.