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Thailand ruling party to amend new constitution

[JURIST] Thailand's ruling political party announced plans Wednesday to amend the nation's newly adopted constitution [JURIST report]. The People Power Party (PPP), which which won 233 out of 480 parliament seats in the first election [JURIST report] since the current interim military-backed government took power in a September 2006 bloodless coup [JURIST report], intends to make sweeping changes, including stripping the Election Commission of Thailand [official website, in Thai] of its power to request the dissolution of political parties, allowing government officials and their families to hold positions in state companies, and mandating that military government-appointed bodies reveal their assets. There has not yet been agreement on whether the proposed amendments should drop amnesty for the military government responsible for seizing power from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [BBC profile; JURIST news archive].

The new constitution [text; JURIST report], adopted by national referendum and enacted by Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej [BBC report] in August 2007, replaces Thailand's 1997 charter. The government has praised the constitution as a step toward democracy, but supporters of Shinawatra have said that it decreases populist influence [JURIST report] and transfers more power to bureaucrats and the military. AFP has more.

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