Govt plans law to restrain Constitution drafters from amending lèse majesté provisions…just in case-Bangkok Post
March 5, 2012
[FACT comments: The present govt wants a new Constitution. But now it’s making rules, preconditions. What we really need is an irrevocable bill of rights, guaranteeing everyone’s human rights and civil liberties. All the rest means nothing.]
Committee: Monarchy won’t be touched
Bangkok Post: March 2, 2012
The 45-member joint parliamentary committee scrutinising charter amendment bills has agreed to write an article to prevent a constitution drafting assembly (CDA) from amending Chapters 1 and 2 of the 2007 constitution regarding the state and the monarchy, committee chairman Samart Kaewmeechai said on Friday.
Mr Samart, a Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai, was speaking today after the scrutiny committee’s second meeting, called to lay down a rough framework for amendments.
The committee will meet again on March 8 to consider which sections in the constitution should be amended, he said.
All three bills being scrutinsed, one filed by the government and the two others by the Pheu Thai and Chartthaipattana parties, seek the amendment of only Section 291 to make way for the establishment of a CDA to rewrite the constitution.
The scrutiny committee today agreed that an article would be written into the final amendment bill to make it clear that the CDA would not amend Chapters 1 and 2 of the 2007 constitution regarding the state and the monarchy, so that those who worried about this matter would feel relieved and satisfied, he said.
Concerning independent agencies, the committee agreed basically that the CDA should work in a direction to make sure that those agencies perform their duties straightforwardly without interference by any political or other groups.
The CDA would be given a guideline not to dissolve any of the existing independent agencies, Mr Samart said.
On the number of CDA members, Mr Samart said the committee initially adhered to the government’s bill. which provides for a a 99-member CDA.
However, the issue could be discussed by MPs and senators in the committee holding different opinions over the composition of the CDA.
On the qualifications of CDA members, the committee initially agreed that a CDA member must be 35 years of age or more, have been born in the province they represent, or lived there for at least five years, or have served as a government official in that province for at least five years, and must not be a person banned from office by the constitution.
Concerning education, the government’s draft wants a CDA member to hold at least a bachelor’s degree, but the Pheu Thai and Chartthaipattana drafts do not include this provision.
This matter will be further discussed by the scrutiny committee, he said.