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Meechai rejects call for five-year ban on junta

Posted by pakin On January - 21 - 2016

Charter drafters resume work in Bangkok after Cha-am retreat.

THE CHIEF constitution drafter maintained yesterday that he saw no need to stipulate in the new charter that coup makers stay clear of politics for five years after stepping down.

Meechai Ruchupan, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), dismissed a proposal from panel adviser Jade Donavanik that the new charter prohibit members of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) from politics for five years after the next general election is held.

Ahead of the CDC meeting yesterday, Meechai dismissed Jade’s suggestion, but said the drafters would have to discuss the matter again.

Jade was a member of the previous CDC, which also came up with this idea in a bid to reassure the public that the NCPO would not cling to power once the new charter is adopted.

Yesterday was the second day for the drafters to work at their office in Bangkok after returning from a retreat in Phetchaburi’s Cha-am district last week.

CDC spokesman Chartchai Na Chiangmai, meanwhile, said yesterday that the panel was reviewing the 261 finished articles on a one-by-one basis to ensure everything is correct.

As of yesterday, some 60 articles had been reviewed, though the drafters have not yet started writing the last chapter on Transitory Provisions.

Chartchai said the revision would be completed this week, and since the January 29 deadline is fast approaching, drafters would spend next Monday and Tuesday completing the remaining provisions.

However, the drafters already have a rough idea that the Transitory Provisions chapter will cover three major parts, the spokesman said.

The first part will involve stipulations on how relevant organic laws required under the new charter would be written and how long it should take, he said.

The second part will be about reforms, including education reform and other points proposed by the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) and others.

The last part will involve the transition towards the new charter and will also stipulate how the NCPO should step down from power, Chartchai said, adding that the drafters were still figuring out these issues.

He also pointed out that there were some differences between previous charters and the new one; for instance, the terms of independent agencies are changed.

Apart from that, the CDC has set out its public relations plan to create understanding about the draft charter among the public and relevant bodies.

As soon as the initial draft is released on January 29, CDC members will hold a non-formal meeting with the NRSA and the National Legislative Assembly to explain the draft, the spokesman said.

The drafters are also planning to host a big-scale event, perhaps at Impact Arena Muang Thong Thani, to present the first complete draft. At the event, all 21 drafters will be ready to accept any inquiries from the press and the general public.

Chartchai said the CDC would ask the Interior Ministry to have its officials nationwide watch the event, expected to be broadcast live on state-run television channels.

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