Thai PM unveils reform assembly plan

Thai PM unveils reform assembly plan

THAILAND - Caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra yesterday floated the idea of setting up a reform assembly in parallel with preparations for the February 2 election, but analysts said it would not work, and the protest movement immediately rejected it.

On a special TV programme, Yingluck said the post-election government would be committed to continuing the work of the so-called National Reform Assembly.

She called for all sectors of society to join the assembly to lead the country out of conflict.

"My government has listened to suggestions of several sides from several forums and agrees that reforms are needed in the social, economic and political dimensions," she said.

To start the process, an 11-member committee would be set up to organise the assembly, then 2,000 people would be recruited from professional groups and organisations throughout the country. They in turn would select 499 members from among themselves for the council.

The committee formed to organise the selection process, Yingluck said, would specify qualifications and other conditions of those who wished to be on the 499-member council.

The 11-member committee would include the supreme commander of the Armed Forces, the secretary-general of the National Economic and Social Development Board, chiefs of government agencies, and the president of the Board of Trade of Thailand.

Yingluck insisted that her government would not get involved in the establishment of the assembly. The Prime Minister's Office and the interim Cabinet would only acknowledge the council, but their official approval would not be required. She did not give any indication of how long the assembly would operate, though earlier she suggested a term of two years.

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