Democrats Against the Amendments
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Democrats Against the Amendments

The Nation:
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The Democrat Party has assigned secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban to be in charge of its campaign against constitutional amendments.
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/>The party also upgraded the urgency level of the matter to the same level as the party’s boycott of the 2006 election and the fight against its dissolution, said Thepthai Senpong, assistant secretary-general.
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/>Thepthai said the party had set up a strategy committee against constitutional amendments, headed by Suthep.
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/>The Democrats also set up a working committee to study the draft amendment bill and this panel is headed by party-list MP Banyat Bantadtan.
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/>He said all 164 Democrat MPs would be united in opposing the government’s attempts to amend the charter.
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/>Because of the urgency of the matter, the Democrats cancelled a seminar of its MPs planned for June, Thepthai said.
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/>He said the Democrats disagreed with Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej’s plan to spend Bt2 billion to hold a national referendum on charter amendments.
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/>”Samak claimed the referendum would end the rifts and prevent a coup. But the Democrats see that a coup could be prevented without the need of up to Bt2 billion. The coup could be prevented by withdrawing the amendment bill, by solving the economic problems and by taking action against those who insulted the highest institution,” Thepthai said.
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/>He said the Democrats would campaign within the rules along with people’s organisations against charter amendments.
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/>He said Democrat MPs would participate in activities of all groups and the party would not prevent its MPs from joining demonstrations of the People’s Alliance for Democracy.
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/>He said that once the amendment draft was put on Parliament’s agenda, Democrat MPs would do their duty by opposing it.
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/>Democrat deputy spokesman Sathit Pitutecha said the party would publish documents and hold rallies to explain to voters why it opposes the amendments.

/>BP: Abhisit has publicly stated he wanted to amend the constitution. Last month, he also wanted the government to amend the whole constitution and not just one or two articles. More recently stated:
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Meanwhile, the Democrat Party has a plan to seek the amendment of article 291 of the Constitution, to pave the way for the re-establishment of the Constitution Drafting Assembly.
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/>Leader of the Democrat Party, Abhisit Vejjajiva, says the government should review its campaign to seek the Constitution amendment as the move has drawn intense criticism from several sectors, and the Democrat party is considering the re-establishment of the Constitution Drafting Assembly or CDA to take charge of the rewrite.
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/>Abhisit reveals that his party has set up a working panel to draft its own version of the Constitution to be compared with the one written by the government. He says the party’s meeting today considers whether to launch a campaign seeking the amendment of article 291 to pave the way for the formation of the CDA.
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/>BP: Given this, it appears there a disagreement about process and how the constitution should be amended although this isn’t coming through now. Just like with PPP, I am a little confused over their position. Why not want to see the final draft? I am not sure such rhetoric by the Democrats and if they become closely linked with the PAD is a good thing. Being aligned with protesters won’t win votes. PAD haven’t formed a party their own party and contested an election as they are simply not popular enough.