At the press conference of the United front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) on October 9, 2013, Mr. Thanawut Vichaidit, spokesperson of the UDD, informed the Red Shirt supporters about the upsurge of movement by the conservative masses such as the People’s Force to Overthrow Thaksinism (PEFOT) and the Dharma Army groups in recent week.
The spokesperson advised the UDD supporters not to confront with these Am-mart ground forces despite provocation because it would fit in with their ploy of escalating the political tensions in the society and warned against a “third party” that might use the situation to incite violence conflict for their own personal gain.
“I would like to ask brothers and sisters of the Red Shirt to stay away from the opposition protest sites because it will make it more difficult for the police to provide security if they have to beware of a confrontation,” said Mr. Thanawut.
Also at the press conference, Mr. Jatuporn Prompan, co-leader of the UDD, warned the government to remain vigilant even when the Constitutional Court have dismissed the inquest into the bill which regulate the selection of Senators by the opposition chief whip, Jurin Laksanavisit and appointed senator, Mr. Paiboon Nititawan.
On October 9th 2013, the Constitutional Court have decided to dismiss the allegation against the proposed changing of the way Senators is selected because the court deemed that it does not fall under Article 154 (1) and therefore it does not contradict with the Constitution as claimed by the opposition chief whip. Article 154 (1) which regulates the scrutiny of unconstitutionality of enactment state that:
“After any bill has been approved by the National Assembly, then, before the Prime Minister presents it to the King for signature under section 150; or after any bill has been reaffirmed by the National Assembly under section 151, then, before the Prime Minister presents it to the King for signature on another occasion:
(1) If members of the House of Representatives, senators or members of both Houses of not less than one-tenth of the total number of the existing members of both Houses are of the opinion that the said bill contains provisions that are contrary to or inconsistent with this Constitution or is enacted contrary to the provisions of this Constitution, they shall submit their opinion to the President of the House of Representatives, the President of the Senate or the President of the National Assembly, as the case may be, and the President of the House receiving such opinion shall then refer it to the Constitutional Court for decision and, without delay, inform the Prime Minister thereof.”
The court sees that according to Section 15 of the charter, the Constitution may be amended if it follows the rules and procedures (1)-(7) of Article 291. Sub-article (7) state that the provisions of section 150 and section 151 shall apply correspondingly once the proposed amendment bill is approved by the National Assembly but it does not indicate that Article 154 should also be apply in this situation because it does not contains provisions that are contrary to or inconsistent with this Constitution or is enacted contrary to the provisions of this Constitution.
Mr. Jatuporn explained that the government should not think that this bill is saved because “it is not the end” due to the appeals by the opposition who cited Article 68 of the constitution against the disputed draft. However, despite being cautious, the government should also continue to fix the constitution through the amendment of the remaining unlawful articles such as section 309. He predicted that the Democrat Party and the appointed Senators will be in much hotter water when the amendment of Article 309 is introduced next week.
Assoc. Prof. Tida Tavonseth, President of the UDD, also voiced the organization support for the government and encourages them to believe in their legitimate power; “The government should uphold their representation of the people and continue with it progress in repairing the damaged Constitution or else there is no way out for Thailand,” said Mrs. Tida.
At the end of the press conference, Mr. Jatuporn and Mrs. Tida have praised the government ability to control the PEFOT situation by approving the use of the Internal Security Act (ISA) in three Bangkok districts – Dusit, Phra Nakhon and Pomprap Sattruphai – from Oct 9-18. Mr. Jatuporn believes that the use of the ISA will halt the movement of the problematic mobs but reminded the government of the protestor’s intention to prolong their demonstration until the end of October.
“The PEFOT wanted to remain active until the result of International Court on the issue of land dispute in Phra Vihear Temple is published because if the outcome is negative for Thailand, they can use the conflict to discredit the government by saying that it is the government false for losing the disputed land,” Mr. Jatuporn concluded.