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UDD submits letter to Constitutional Court, announces plans to observe Bangkok governor election

Yesterday the UDD submitted a letter to the Constitutional Court, with the intention of clarifying issues surrounding the government’s current attempts to amend the constitution.

In a Constitutional ruling in July 2012, in which the Court ruled that amending the constitution does not pose a threat to the monarchy, the Court also suggested that the government hold a referendum regarding the amendments. This suggestion, which was separate from the ruling, has been a tense point for the Pheu Thai government, and has led it to consider holding a referendum before the third reading of the constitutional amendments. However, UDD co-leaders have urged the government to hold a reading of the constitution in Parliament instead.

In the letter from the UDD, the following questions were posed to the Court:

1. Does the suggestion from the Court that the government hold a referendum regarding constitutional amendments constitute advice or an order? What law or article of the Constitution was consulted by the Court in this decision?

2. Does the Court disagree with a parliamentary vote on the Constitutional amendments? If so, what law or article of the Constitution was consulted by the Court in this decision?

The UDD also announced plans to observe the governor election that will be held in Bangkok in March. UDD co-leader Tida said the Red Shirts are not concerned with the outcome of the election, rather they want to ensure that the elections are fair and transparent.

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UDD Outlines Four Tier Strategy for 2013

At a press conference on Friday, the UDD leadership outlined their four tier strategy for 2013. Each tier means to challenge a different consequence of the 2006 coup and its aftermath.

First of all, the UDD will prioritize its ongoing struggle for amnesty for political prisoners. UDD leader Tida Tawornseth called on the government to issue an amnesty decree within the next two months. The death of Red Shirt prisoner Wanchai Raksanguansilp on December 27th, 2012, has fueled the anger and frustration among Red Shirts who expected more action from the Pheu Thai administration.

The second tier is the fight for justice and an end to state violence  in Thailand. The murder charges brought against Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban for their lethal and illegal response to the Red Shirt protests in 2010 are a positive development and the UDD will monitor the process closely. Nevertheless, the UDD believes that granting the International Criminal Court (ICC) jurisdiction to open a preliminary investigation would help ensure a fair process for all.

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Amnesty for All Political Prisoners -UDD Honours Lost Red Shirt

As we enter the year 2013, the UDD is preparing itself for a new round in the Red Shirt movement’s ongoing struggle for full democracy in Thailand. While the battle for the charter amendment will dominate in the coming months, a battle that the Red Shirts have been fighting for years, the recent death of political prisoner Wanchai Raksanguansilp has tragically highlighted the importance of amnesty for all political prisoners, of all political stripes and colours, but excluding movement leaders, high-ranking military officials, and politicians.

In Wanchai’s honour, the UDD intends to make amnesty its number one priority for the new year. In the meantime, the UDD will fight for better prison living standards, particularly for political prisoners and lèse majesté prisoners.

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