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Thai Parliament Passes Blanket Amnesty Bill
Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com
Source Date: Friday, November 01, 2013
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government
Country: Thailand
Created: Nov 05, 2013

Thai House of Representatives passed both second and third readings of the controversial blanket amnesty bill early Friday, after Democrat Party opposition members walked out in the face of certain defeat.


In the third reading, the parliament passed the bill with 310-0 with four abstentions. Thai House of Representatives have a total of 500 lawmakers.


The 19-hour debate, capped by unanimous votes on second and third readings, took place as groups of protesters demonstrated in an all-night vigil organized by the Democrats.


The amnesty law, brought to the House floor by a group of Pheu Thai Party MPs, contains seven sections. The most controversial is Section 3, which provides blanket amnesty for all politics- connected charges, including the coup that overthrew the government of Thaksin Shinawatra.


Earlier amnesty bills offered only limited amnesty, specifically excluding Thaksin and other senior political leaders.


The newly passed version was written and approved last month by a House scrutiny panel. It offers amnesty for all those involved in political protests from Jan 1, 2004 to Aug. 8, 2013, except for those accused under Section 112 of the Criminal Code, also known as the lese-majeste law.


It took the MPs just over six hours to approve the name of the amnesty legislation "Granting an amnesty to those committing offences relating to political demonstrations and the political expression of the public."


The margin was a victory of sorts for Pheu Thai hardliners and for Thaksin, both of whom lobbied the parliamentary whips to make the bill an official party issue.

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