Some Thailand NRC members oppose idea of outsiders helping to draft charter

Members of the National Reform Council have opposed a proposal to appoint "outsiders" - people who are not members of the council - to be drafters of the new constitution.

NRC member Paiboon Nititawan said he disagreed with the proposal, saying national reform should be the NRC's duty and responsibility.

He said some members would voice opposition to the proposal in an NRC meeting next Monday on how to select members to be charter drafters.

"It is necessary to have all 20 NRC members appointed to the CDC [Constitution Drafting Committee]. It would be reasonable to propose that all 20 members of the NRC should work as CDC members, since it would make national reform more transparent and legitimate," he said.

'Leave it up to Cabinet, NCPO'

If there are "outsiders", they could come from nominations by the Cabinet, or the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).

Paiboon said all 20 nominees should be NRC members and some members had already expressed an interest. These included Anek Laothammatas, Sombat Thamrongtanyawong, Chuchai Supawong, and more.

The NRC has a quota to decide on 20 drafter charters, and some including NRC president Thienchay Kiranandana have suggested that five of 20 could be outsiders who are not NRC members in order to make the body more diverse.

Thienchay reasoned that the NRC wanted to get a variety of opinions from different groups of people, including those who disagree with the NRC, the colour-coded political groups and political parties.

NRC member Seree Suwanphanont said the council reserved the right to decide whether it would allow outsiders to become CDC members.

The NRC is due to meet on Monday to try to select 20 charter drafters. No agreement has been reached so far as to who will be nominated.

Borwornsak for CDC chairman

In a related development, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan threw his weight behind NRC deputy chairman Borwornsak Uwanno becoming chairman of the CDC, saying he was one of the best legal experts and had the experience required.

Prawit said the government and the NCPO had yet to come up with a list of people who would become charter drafters under their quotas. However, decisions would be made soon, and the person who will have the final say is Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is also NCPO chairman.

"I think Borwornsak is suited to become chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee because he's a lawyer who has been through much of this sort of work," Prawit said.

Prawit also thanked former prime minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who offered moral support to the government. The NCPO, said Prawit, is on track to achieving its objectives.

In another related development, the National Legislative Assembly will meet on Thursday to discuss who should become the five charter drafters under its quota.

A shortlist of candidates will first have to be produced, however.