Members of the ruling Pheu Thai Party broadly agree to resume the push to amend the charter, although Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has urged caution.
Prime minister's adviser Pokin Polakul, who chairs the panel studying the possibility of amending the constitution, briefed the premier yesterday on the panel's recommendation to move on with the charter change bid.
The panel believes Pheu Thai should proceed by starting with a vote to pass the third and final reading of the constitutional amendment bill pending parliament's consideration.
Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, however, said the briefing was informal and she had not yet received any official report.
She said this issue actually had nothing to do with the government because it was parliament's responsibility to decide what to do next with the constitutional amendment bill.
Pheu Thai MP for Chiang Rai Samart Kaewmeechai, who is a member of the panel, said the leaders of the coalition parties would jointly declare their intention to press ahead with charter amendment on Monday, which is Constitution Day, at parliament.
Chalerm: Don't rush charter change
Mr Chalerm said the charter rewrite would take place, but urged the government to proceed slowly on the issue or face a new round of protests.
Pheu Thai is a large party and its executives would have to meet and discuss the charter issue again before any further action is taken, he said.
Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikuar, who is also a co-leader of the pro-government United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), said the coalition parties had to be in agreement on the charter amendment issue before the bill's third reading proceeds.
Passing the bill would be an ideal solution to lead the nation towards real democracy, he said, adding that he personally agreed with the move even though he was well aware of growing political tensions created by the government's opponents.
Mr Nattawut also supported the panel's proposal to hold a referendum on charter amendment only after the new constitution has been drafted.
He said this would comply with the Constitution Court's ruling on July 13 that a wholesale charter rewrite without a referendum would be unconstitutional.
The court ruled the charter amendment bill should be suspended and a public referendum should be held on the move to rewrite Section 291, which would pave the way for the establishment of an assembly to draft a new constitution.
The court did not specify if the referendum should be conducted prior to drafting the constitutional amendment or later, Mr Nattawut said.
However, the so-called Group of 40 Senators has insisted the referendum must be conducted prior to drafting charter amendments, or else the senators and MPs involved in the charter amendment process could be found guilty of breaching the court's ruling.
If the government is tempted to push through the third reading of the bill, the group would petition the court to rule against such a move again, senator Somchai Sawaengkarn said.
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Writer: Aekarach Sattaburuth & Patsara Jikkham