NLA panel wants PM directly elected

NLA panel wants PM directly elected
Klanarong Chanthick.

A proposal for direct election of the prime minister and the cabinet gained momentum yesterday with the National Legislative Assembly's panel on political reform also backing the suggestion.

NLA panel chairman Klanarong Chantik said his subcommittee wanted a separation of power between the executive and legislative branches, and hence having a direct election for the entire Cabinet was the best model.

He said candidates for executive posts did not have to be members of political parties, and each term should last four years with a maximum of two terms.

A few weeks ago, the National Reform Council's political reform panel had proposed direct election for the cabinet and the prime minister to have a separation of power between the executive and legislative branches, resulting in much debate and speculation.

The NLA panel has proposed that candidates for PM and the Cabinet who win over 35 per cent of the vote should become the country's executives. However, if no one gains over 35 per cent of votes, the first- and second-most popular candidates would have a run-off.

Klanarong said that candidates for executive posts had to clearly publicise their policies, emphasising their "practicality", while providing detailed information on the financial sources of any project they proposed.

The NLA panel on political reform also proposed that all senators should be appointed and wants the system of party-list representatives scrapped.

NLA members also deliberated and approved a list of candidates for Administrative Court judges.

Its 16 panels for various reform areas also announced proposals for the Constitutional Drafting Committee to consider on December 19. The political reform panel believes the parliamentary system should remain the same with a House of Representatives and a Senate.

It said all Lower House representatives should come from a constituency election and did not have to be political party members, while there should be no party-list representatives.

Senators should be appointed by the Senator Appointment Committee, and should serve for no more than one six-year term.

During the closing stages of yesterday's meeting, NLA members were given the opportunity to express their opinion on an issue or propose an idea in addition to the reform proposals presented by the panels.

Thani Onla-eiad said all elected senators had proven to be a problem since the scrapped 1997 Constitution, but the senators appointed under the defunct 2007 Constitution were accused of being undemocratic. Because of that, he proposed that senators should come from eight professional groups, using the nation's borders as the constituency boundaries.

He said this would combine the positives and negatives of the 1997 and 2007 constitutions, as society should learn from past experiences.

NLA vice president Surachai Liengboonlertchai told fellow members and the public that the proposals submitted yesterday were merely initial proposals and there was time for further discussion and changes if necessary.

"This is only the first proposals from the NLA. More will come," he said. "After December 19, charter drafters will begin their work, but during that time the NLA will continue to gather and collect information from members."

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