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Old 07-12-2012, 10:20 PM   #1

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Oct 2005
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Default Thailand - Friday The 13th Verdict Is Just A Sideshow
Whatever verdict the Constitutional Court hands down tomorrow over the Constitution amendment crisis,
things will get worse before they get better. And it doesn't really matter which side "wins" because the court's
decision won't change anybody's opinion. Most people will continue to hold on to their positions in regard to the
ruling Pheu Thai Party and the opposition Democrats.

The country, however, will end up as the real loser.

That's because, no matter who is judged right or wrong over this argument, over the interpretation of the proposed
constitutional amendments, the long-standing conflict will not be resolved. If anything, the confrontation will get
worse. Both sides will regroup and mobilise their own supporters for yet another showdown.

If the judges decide in favour of the opposition, the Pheu Thai Party could be disbanded. If the verdict gives the green
light to the ruling party, the way is wide open for Pheu Thai's next move to ram through both the charter changes and
reconciliation bill - a package seen by critics as benefiting only former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

The Constitutional Court could come down somewhere in the middle. The verdict could send the legislative branch back
to the people in the form of a referendum to determine whether the majority thinks the current charter should be
rewritten - and how. After all, certain constitutional experts have argued that this particular Constitution was approved
by a majority of the people in an earlier referendum. Politicians, they say, should not change the basic elements of the
highest law of the land without seeking the opinion of the "owners of the country", who have already put an official
stamp of approval on this very important document.

At least four of the nine judges on the panel don't really want to have anything to do with the task at hand. One,
Charan Pakdithanakul, sought and was granted the right to pull out. Three others asked for the same exit option but
were turned down. The remaining eight judges have been put under great pressure. They stand accused of being
biased no matter how the majority decides.

It gets worse if the judges are split 4-4 in their decision. That would plunge the country in a new constitutional crisis,
since there are no legal provisions or precedents to overcome a stalemate.

If it's any consolation, this too shall pass. It is, after all, just a small sideshow. The real raging battle is only in respite.
It will resume soon enough. Fasten your seat belt.
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