Charter amendments to test Thai ruling coalition's partnership

19:36, January 24, 2011      

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Partnership in Thai ruling coalition will be put to the test this week as the parliament convenes on Tuesday to deliberate the pending constitutional amendments.

Coalition partners have publicly voiced their support to different versions of the planned amendments, with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's Democrat Party, the core in the coalition, insisting to push through a version unwanted by other partners.

The constitution is being amended to alter the size of electoral constituencies and number of members of the House of Representatives, and to better classify the various types of bilateral and multi-lateral agreements that will need approval from the parliament.

But it is the proposed new number and composition of House members the charter is seeking to change that coalition partners are currently wrangling over.

The dispute has become so vocal that leaders of political parties in the ruling coalition need time to patch up their differences just before the parliament starts its meeting on Tuesday's morning.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, also Democrat secretary general, told reporters on Monday that his party will be hosting a dinner at a Bangkok hotel later in the evening among leaders of coalition partners to discuss the charter amendments in its second reading after a two-month recess of the parliament.

Parliament president Chai Chidchob has set Tuesday, Jan. 25, for the one-day deliberation, which will be broadcast live nationwide on a state-own television.

It has been widely speculated that Prime Minister Abhisit might decide to dissolve the House if the amendment version his Democrat Party endorses does not get approval.

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