This time identified as a “multi-shirt” leader, the ultra-royalist chameleon Tul Sitthisomwong is in the news again shouting support for the miltiary junta’s constitution. The problem for PPT is that Tul is a constitutional dullard.
Let’s first quote, in total, Chapter 15 of the military’s 2007 constitution on Amendment of the Constitution:
Section 291. An amendment of the Constitution may be made only under the rules and procedure as follows:
(1) a motion for amendment must be proposed either by the Council of Ministers or members of the House of Representatives of not less than one-fifth of the total number of the existing members of the House of Representatives or members of both Houses of not less than one-fifth of the total number of the existing members thereof or persons having the right to votes of not less than fifty thousand in number under the law on the public submission of a bill;
A motion for amendment which has the effect of changing the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State or changing the form of State shall be prohibited;
(2) a motion for amendment must be proposed in the form of a draft Constitution Amendment and the National Assembly shall consider it in three readings;
(3) the voting in the first reading for acceptance in principle shall be by roll call and open voting, and the amendment must be approved by votes of not less than one-half of the total number of the existing members of both Houses;
(4) in the consideration section by section in the second reading, consultation with the people who submit a draft Constitution Amendment shall be held;
The voting in the second reading for consideration section by section shall be decided by a simple majority of votes;
(5) at the conclusion of the second reading, there shall be an interval of fifteen days after which the National Assembly shall proceed with its third reading;
(6) the voting in the third and final reading shall be by roll call and open voting, and its promulgation as the Constitution must be approved by votes of more than one-half of the total number of the existing members of both Houses;
(7) after the resolution has been passed in accordance with the above rules and procedure, the draft Constitution Amendment shall be presented to the King, and the provisions of section 150 and section 151 shall apply mutatis mutandis.
Now let’s turn to The Nation’s report on yellow-shirt/multi-color/no color/ultra-royalist/Siam Samakkhi/etcetera Tul and his political misreading of the very constitution that was meant to be the royalists elite’s tool for political control.
Tul reportedly said “that the attempt to ‘amend’ the whole constitution was on a questionable legal footing, so the charter amendment bill should be subjected to judicial interpretation.”
He is running about getting the Office of the Ombudsman and the Constitutional Court to rule against amendment, including to the article listed above. More, he is apparently thinking of “petitioning the Attorney-General’s Office to launch an inquiry into whether the move to discard the charter amounted to treason…”.
What Tul seems to be conjuring is a view that the bill would amend Article 291 – currently under consideration to empower a Constitutional Drafting Assembly that is not currently a part of Article 291 will lead the CDA “to produce an entirely new charter…”. He opines that Article 291″provides only for specific changes and not a complete rewrite”
We see considerable logical creep in Tul’s claims – perhaps the more appropriate term would be “illogical creep.” Essentially, Tul wants no changes at all to the junta’s constitution. As he thrashes about seeking to block any change, Tul ignores several things. First, he elevates proposed amendments to a complete rewrite of the constitution. PPT doesn’t see any evidence of that. Second, it appears that the current Article 291 allows for considerable amendments, proposed by parliament or the people, in all areas except for those we highlighted above. In other words, he’s beating up a claim based on a lie. Third, Tul raises the possibility that anyone seeking to replace the junta’s constitution would be guilty of treason.
This is an attempt to defend a constitution that was put in place in a process that even the pro-royalist Bangkok Post said, in an editorial on 1 August 2007 said had a “facade of being a democratic choice… ”, adding “[t]his is not democracy, this is not the rule of law.”
Tul wants to defend all of that to the very end.