A bill enabling South vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to stand for a third longer term was passed in an emergency session of the Senate and the Lower House in Saigon on Saturday (January 21st).
Senators and deputies marching to Senate with banners
SV Senator arguing with police and restrained by colleagues
GV Senators entering Senate
GV INT Senators entering Senate
CU National emblem
GV Senators applaud as Senator starts to speak (2 shots)
GV Senators shouting at speaker
Initials BB/0059 JT/PN/BB/0107
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Background: A bill enabling South vietnamese President Nguyen Van Thieu to stand for a third longer term was passed in an emergency session of the Senate and the Lower House in Saigon on Saturday (January 21st). The opposition greeted the result with furious shots and a volley of note-pads and ashtrays.
The bill, supported by 153 of the 206 deputies and senators present, makes three important amendments to the constitution: The main one extends the Presidential term of office from four to five years, and allows him to stand for three terms of office instead of two. This will enable President Thieu to stand for re-election next year.
President Thieu's supporters had drafted the amendments under emergency procedures during the approach to the Lunar New Year when newspapers are not printed. Many opposition senators thought the session should never have been held and they marched to the Senates with protest banners.
The passing of the bill has aroused more violent denunciation than has been heard in Saigon for some years. The opposition parties have formed into anew alliance and described the amendments as 'anti-democratic and anti-constitutional'