Half of draft of new Thailand charter 'needs change'

Half of draft of new Thailand charter 'needs change'

NATIONAL Reform Council member Seree Suwanphanont yesterday proposed a debate before the NRC votes on the final constitution draft.

The process of scrutinising the first charter draft by the NRC finished on Sunday, after a week of debating in which many reformers suggested ideas and proposed amendments for charter articles.

From today, reformers can submit their motions for altering the charter until May 25 - but whether the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) will make amendments as reformers suggested or not will depend only on decisions of the 36 CDC members.

After the above submission process, the CDC must forward the final constitution draft to the NRC, whose members will vote on whether to approve the new charter.

Seree said he would propose at the next meeting of NRC whips that there should be a debate session for council members before votin g on the final charter draft after the CDC has made amendments according to reformers' proposals. Seree, who is also chairman of the panel in charge of legal and justice system reform, 20 members of his panel were working on motions for amending charter articles.

"The members agreed more than half of the draft should be amended, to make it more concise and shorter," he said.

CDC spokesman General Lertrat Rattanawanit said the charter drafters would today hold a meeting to scrutinise the proposals put forward by NRC members last week.

Lertrat also said CDC chairman Borwaornsak Uwanno had forwarded the charter draft to 74 political parties and they would have until May 20 to submit their opinions.

"We insist we are willing to receive any suggestions from every side to make this new constitution as good as possible," he said.

Another CDC member, Paiboon Nititawan, said: "I believe the majority of the NRC will accept the charter, which we are scrutinising together. Even though some have debated and voiced opposition, they can also submit their motions to amend the charter articles," Paiboon said.

General Prawit Wongsuwan, deputy prime minister for national security, said after observing the scrutiny process that he believed there would be no concern regarding the charter draft and its processes.

Asked on the likelihood of holding a referendum and whether there had been a meeting between the government and the NCPO on this matter, Prawit said he and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha mentioned earlier that it must abide by the 2014 interim charter along with people's approval. 

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