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Speaker defends constitutional amendments

Mar 21. 2013
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By The Nation

Senate Speaker Nikom Waiyaratphanich on Thursday expressed support for Pheu Thai's three bills seeking to amend four provisions of the Constitution, saying he expected the bills would sail through Parliament.

Nikom said the proposed amendments would be useful for the country and were not aimed at benefiting a particular group of people as alleged by the so-called 40-senators clique.

Nikom said the proposed amendment to Article 190 would make Thailand more competitive in the world market while the proposed amendment to Article 237 to abolish the party dissolution penalty would promote the development of political parties.
Proposed amendment to Article 237 seeks to grant exemption to parliamentary vetting on international agreements deemed to impact economic, social and security affairs.
Nikom said the proposed amendment to require all senators to come forward for election would allow the people to elect their senators.
Nikom said he supported the charter amendments not because he wanted to help particular political parties or because he had received an order from former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Rather his support for four-provision amendments could be put down to Nonthaburi Senator Direk Thuengfung, chair of a reconciliation panel, who had proposed similar amendments.
While Nikom admitted that the amendment of the party dissolution provision would benefit the 109 executives of three disbanded political parties if rushed through parliament, he pointed out that the amendments would not take effect before December, after which the 109 executives would in any case emerge from their five-year political ban.
“So, the amendments will not benefit any particular group and they do not constitute conflicts of interest,” Nikom said.

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