Thai PM to call snap elections after re-writing charter

Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej has said he will call snap elections once his government completes amendments to the controversial army-backed constitution, a report said Thursday.

Thai PM to call snap elections after re-writing charter
The charter was approved at a referendum last August while the country was still under military rule following a September 2006 coup against prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, but critics say it empowers the military and bureaucracy at the expense of elected leaders.

Samak's ruling People Power Party (PPP), which swept to power in December elections, and its five coalition partners are considering a series of changes to the constitution that could be completed before the end of the year.

"I can reaffirm that my government is working on constitutional amendments for the future because this government may not be the one which uses the new charter," Samak told Thai diplomats, businessmen at Thailand's embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday night.

"Once the amendments are complete, snap elections will be held," he was quoted as saying in a report from Malaysia by the official Thai News Agency.

Amending the constitution requires only a simple majority of both the House and the Senate in three readings. The coalition controls 316 seats out of 480 in the lower house.

Government whips have distributed copies of the new draft constitution, which retains only the current sections one and two concerning general provisions and the king while the rest restores the 1997 charter scrapped by the junta.

Samak will meet leaders of the other five partners in his coalition Monday.

Government whips projected the whole amendment process could be completed in October.

The opposition People's Alliance for Democracy, which led street protests against Thaksin when he was in office, has said it was too early to change the constitution, but a recent poll showed the PPP's move had popular support.

The opposition party said it would hold a rally Friday against the government.

Agencies

Last Mod: 24 Nisan 2008, 15:19
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