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Deputy PM insists charter ‘not a script’

Posted by pakin On November - 6 - 2014

Public referendum not needed, says Wissanu

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam denied rumours Wednesday that charter drafters would draw up a new charter based on a “prepared script”.

“That is not true. The country has seen a number of charter drafting processes. And every time a process is about to begin, there will be speculation like this. There is no prepared draft. The process is being closely watched by the whole country,” he said.

Mr Wissanu said he did not consider a public referendum a necessary step in the writing and endorsing process.

Some believe that without a referendum the draft charter may not truly belong to the public and may in fact reflect the coup-makers’ agenda.

The deputy prime minister said a referendum is often cited in modern-day politics to justify “public participation”. He said it is more important to engage the people by calling on those representing various sectors to give their views rather than the public at large.

He also said the cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) are expected to appoint a panel to monitor the work of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC).

The panel will help the government and the NCPO, which are required by the interim charter to study the draft, he said.

The members of the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) led by Borwornsak Uwanno Wednesday took a vow to perform their duties with honesty and impartiality in the best interests of the people.

They made their vow as they paid their respects to the Emerald Buddha at Wat Phra Si Rattana Satsadaram and the City Shrine.

After that they went to parliament for an unofficial meeting to get to know each other. Two CDC members did not attend as they were abroad. (Story continues below)

Mr Borwornsak called on the public and political parties to take part in the drafting process by forwarding their opinions to the CDC and an NRC committee on public participation.

He said the CDC members had made an initial agreement on division of work and how to complete its task.

Six deputies will be appointed and the working panels of the CDC will be divided into two groups. One will be involved in the drafting process and the other with the content, he said.

However, this is just a proposal and the details will be finalised at today’s official meeting. He said he did not mind if reporters sat in during CDC meetings but they would have to understand that some issues could not leave the room.

Also on Wednesday, charter drafters reaffirmed the public would not be left out of the charter drafting process. Kamnoon Sidhisamarn said public input would be gathered to ensure a draft charter, which is expected to take shape in April next year, reflects the views of the people.

He said the gathering of public opinions would go hand in hand with the drafting process due to the tight time-frame. He said the content of the constitution would be based partly on previous charters, especially the 1997 and 2007 versions and the current interim charter.

Mr Kamnoon said all 36 CDC members should make it clear when they are voicing personal opinions about the draft charter to avoid creating confusion. Their personal views could be misunderstood as the CDC’s proposals.

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