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Old charters can be used, advises Prayut

Posted by pakin On September - 15 - 2015


PRIME Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said it is possible to bring old charters – including the most recent draft shot down – to the table if the next charter draft failed in a referendum.

Prayut ruled out politician participation in writing the new charter.

Speaking after the opening ceremony of the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan seminar yesterday, he said he had no thoughts about amending the interim charter if the next referendum fails.

But he then commented on the possibility of considering and merging the 1997 and 2007 charters with the draft charter recently rejected by the National Reform Council to create a new constitution.

“The 2007 charter was somehow good. The 1997 version was, on the other hand, from the people, while the CDC’s [Constitution Drafting Committee] version – you said it was from the junta, right?” PM Prayut said.

“As we wish to move forward in peace, I think I also have the right to include mine. We have to consider which part is useful. I mean, if people understand that too.”

The prime minister said it was better not have politicians sitting on the new CDC, and he could not envision them on it.

“It’s better [that they] propose ideas outside the ring,” he said.

Prayut said he also had no thoughts on taking back some CDC members to help write the new charter although they had done a good job. He would consider using some of their work as it was useful.

He said he had explained the reasons behind the need to have mechanisms like the proposed National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Committee (NSRRC) to politicians, including Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, and they should understand by now that they will not have the great power he had.

He said it was up to them if they still disagreed with the idea of having it, but after listening to his explanation they should be able to think for themselves.

‘Reform’ steering panel

Considering the problems the country faced, the next government should realise it needed a mechanism like a steering committee for the economy as well as other matters.

This should be in place for a certain period so state agencies could move in the same direction, but it would be in place no more than five years, he said, adding that the country needed a national strategy to move forward, apart from political parties’ policies.

Prayut insisted he did not propose the NSRRC for it to be rejected later, but the committee’s suitability needed to be considered in the context of the country.

He said he was only facilitating the new charter drafting process, and it would not be fair to criticise him because if the process failed again it would once again come back to him to kick-start. The government was sticking to the reform road map, but the third phase was delayed because the draft charter was voted down.

He insisted he did not order the charter to be passed or rejected.

Prayut said his government was pushing forward reform and if the work were unfinished it would be passed onto the next government.

He said the fear of failure was not acceptable when doing whatever was needed to resolve conflicts. It was an anti-coup measure, and as such a steering committee was needed.

“If it’s the time to have an election, let’s have an election, but for now shall we help one another keep the country in peace,” he said. ” Shall we not waste time having a democracy without governance. Find the one that brings equality and dignity to us all.”

Today the government will have a meeting to consider the new CDC members and the new reform steering council members.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, meanwhile, rejected the notion that he was invited to chair the new charter drafting committee.

He said the vote-down of the draft charter could be worth reviewing if people said so.

He said it was too early to talk about amending the interim charter. People should focus on setting up the new charter drafting committee and the new charter drafting process first.

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