Thai govt may set up reform council

Thai govt may set up reform council

THAILAND - The government yesterday turned down a suggestion by seven private-sector organisations for it to issue an executive decree to allow a political-reform council to be set up - but it looks likely to form such a body itself.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission (EC) is likely to proceed with party-list candidate registration today after anti-government protesters ended their blockade of the Thai-Japanese Stadium yesterday. The EC is scheduled to draw lots for party poll numbers at the centre at 9am on Thursday.

Deputy Prime Minister Phongthep Thepkanjana said an executive decree in the current situation would be "rather difficult". He explained that a law would not be binding on the post-election government.

He said a working group was studying the relevant laws and gathering opinions to determine whether setting up a reform council could be done by a transitional government. He added however that this matter would be not tabled for the weekly Cabinet meeting today (Dec 25).

According to a source, it is likely the government reform council will be similar to that set up after the student-led uprising on October 14, 1973, when there was no elected House of Representatives. One proposal has called for the council to have 300 members - 200 chosen from representatives of different occupations and 100 appointed from academics. The council's term would be less than two years.

PM's Office Minister Varathep Ratanakorn said he had never heard of an executive decree being issued by a caretaker government, and there was fear of possible legal action if this was done. However, he said the government would heed the proposal to set up a reform council.

Thailand Development Research Institute president Somkiat Tangkitvanich yesterday presented a six-point solution to bring the country out of the current political deadlock.

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