Thai Democrats to walk if bill goes to vote

A joint House-Senate sitting is scheduled tomorrow to debate some foreign contracts required by Article 190 of the Constitution to be first approved by Parliament.

The Pheu Thai spokesman, meanwhile, said the party would meet today to discuss whether it will go ahead with the third reading despite an injunction by the Constitution Court for Parliament to wait for a court ruling.

The Constitution Court has taken up complaints from the Democrats and other groups to review whether the charter amendments would be unconstitutional or not, so it asked the Parliament to wait for a ruling before going ahead with the third reading.

Democrat party-list MP Ong-art Klampaibul said yesterday that he believed the coalition and senators would join forces to press ahead with the third reading.

He said he noticed that members of Senate committees had started returning from foreign trips and the last group of senators would return to Bangkok at 5am tomorrow. This indicated that that the coalition would seek help from senators to push for the passage of the charter amendment bill in the final reading.

Ong-art alleged that Pheu Thai had been discrediting the top court by saying the court would cease to exist following charter amendments.

The Democrat MP called on House Speaker and Parliament President Somsak Kiatsuranont to not put the third reading of the charter amendment bill on the agenda of the jointing sitting tomorrow.

Ong-art said he also feared that Somsak would put the reconciliation bills on the House meeting's agenda on Wednesday and Thursday.

He said Somsak had never ruled out "sneaking" the charter amendment bill and controversial reconciliation bills on to the agenda despite strong opposition. He said the Speaker should give priority to national interests instead of acting on someone's orders.

Democrat Party and opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday that MPs and senators had learned about the Constitution Court's injunction so the Pheu Thai should not push for a third reading of the charter amendment bill.

He said the government should issue a royal decree to close the current parliamentary session once the it considers the foreign contracts, as required by Article 190.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said yesterday that the party would meet at 2pm today to discuss whether to push for a third reading of the charter amendment tomorrow. He said several Pheu Thai MPs wanted to have the third reading held right away, tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Democrat spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut said the party would form four working committees to monitor various problems that affected people's living standards.

He said the Democrats decided to form the panels because the government had allegedly ignored the people's problems, such as the cost of living, the falling price of commodities and plight of flood victims in southern provinces.

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