Thailand’s Constitutional Court is set to give its verdict tomorrow — yes, Friday the 13th — on the ruling Pheu Thai party’s proposal to amend the country’s constitution.
Supporters say they want a new charter to replace the current constitution, which was drafted by a military-backed government in 2007 following former prime minister Thaksin’s ouster in a military coup.
Opponents say the charter amendment plan represents an attempt to overthrow Thailand’s constitutional monarchy. The case could lead to Pheu Thai’s dissolution.
For a good overview of the situation, see this July 6 AP story.
Meanwhile, AFP says:
Thailand on Wednesday said it was boosting security ahead of an incendiary charter amendment case that could lead to the dissolution of the ruling party, with judges given special police protection.
Deputy Prime Minister Yutthasak Sasiprapa warned that Friday’s verdict, which threatens to rip open the kingdom’s bitter political divisions, “could trigger violence”, but said there was no specific threat of unrest.
Nearly 2,000 police officers are to be deployed around the Constitutional Court as it prepares to rule over claims that plans by Thai premier Yingluck Shinawatra’s party to amend the constitution are a threat to the deeply-revered monarchy.
A verdict against the ruling party could lead to its dissolution, risking fresh conflict in a nation that has been racked by bloody street rallies since huge protests against Yingluck’s brother Thaksin helped topple the tycoon from power in 2006.
The Bangkok Post reports:
If the verdict to be given by the Constitution Court on Friday leads to a change in the government it would have negative impact on the stock market, but the effect would be minimal, Paibul Narintarangkul, chairman of the Federation of Thai Capital Market Organisations, said on Thursday.
At The Nation, commentator Sutichai Yoon notes:
Whatever verdict the Constitutional Court hands down tomorrow over the Constitution amendment crisis, things will get worse before they get better. And it doesn’t really matter which side “wins” because the court’s decision won’t change anybody’s opinion. Most people will continue to hold on to their positions in regard to the ruling Pheu Thai Party and the opposition Democrats.
The Nation also has a story about security, the key issues, and possible verdicts.
Finally, here’s some historical context: Pictured above is a chart showing Thailand’s constitutions through the years — there have been 17 constitutions and charters since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
You can see that the documents have mostly alternated between stipulating appointed legislatures and absolute executives. But take a look at the dramatic difference between the 1997 constitution and the current constitution.
Just some food for thought.
(Image copyright Patiwat Panurach, via Wikipedia.)