63 ex-reform council members win seats on NRSA

63 ex-reform council members win seats on NRSA

Sixty-three former National Reform Council (NRC) members including 42 who voted down the previous draft constitution have secured seats on the 200-member National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA).

The list of NRSA members was revealed yesterday and their selection will come into effect after the names are formally announced in the Royal Gazette, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said.

Seventeen are women and 183 are men, he said.

Key former NRC members who voted against the previous draft charter include Gen Jira Komutpong, a former director-general of the Judge Advocate General's Department.

Former politicians in the NRC group that shot down the blueprint charter include Chai Chidchob, Damrong Pidech, Gen Thawatchai Samutsakhon, Prasit Pathumarak and ACM Manas Roobkajorn.

Other former NRC members in the group that voted down the draft are well-known figures such as Manu Liawpairoj, Pol Maj Yongyuth Sarasombat, Gen Yuthasak Sasiprapha, Worawit Sri-ananraksa and Gen Watthana Sanpanich.

Wanchai Sonsiri and Seri Suwanphanon, two former NRC members who had openly campaigned against the draft, were also chosen as members of the NRSA.

And among those former NRC members who supported the draft constitution and voted for it are Korbsak Phutrakul, Kamnoon Sithisaman, Chuchai Supawong, Thawilwadee Burikul, Lt Gen Nakhon Sukprasert and Gen Lertrat Ratanawanich.

These former NRC members also served as charter drafters.

Other well-known figures in the group of former NRC members who voted for the charter and who return as NRSA members include Prapha Hetrakul Srinualnad, Pramon Suthiwong, Adm Pajun Tamprateep, Somchai Ruchupan, Sangsit Piriyarangsan and former politician Alongkorn Ponlaboot.

Amphon Jindawatthana, who was among the seven who abstained in the draft charter vote, was also selected as an NRSA member.

Aside from these former members of the now-defunct NRC, more well-known figures were picked as members of the steering assembly.

They include former Democrat Party MP Kasit Piromya, National Anti-Corruption Commission chairman Panthep Klanarongran, Attorney-General Trakul Winijnaiyaphak, former permanent secretary for public health Dr Narong Sahametapat, former Central Institute of Forensic Science director Khunying Porntip Rojanasunan, former Thai Rak Thai Party MP Jinda Wongsawat, former Senate secretary-general Norarat Pimsen, former Democrat Party MP Witthaya Kaewparadai and Suchon Chaleekruea who was a former adviser to ex-prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. 

Aside from the former NRC members, the NRSA members selected include 25 retired civil servants, 23 civil servants, 49 police and military officials, 13 academics, lawyers, public relations professionals and economists, Mr Wissanu said.

Other members of the NRSA include 10 politicians and media professionals along with 19 experts, Mr Wissanu added.

After the draft charter was rejected on Sept 6, suspicions emerged that certain members of the NRC voted down the draft in the hope they would be chosen for the NRSA.

The NRC's rejection of the draft by 135-105 votes with seven abstentions effectively pushes back elections to about April 2017.

NRC members with close ties to the military reportedly lobbied heavily to reject the draft that contained the controversial "crisis panel" that would allow a 23-man body to take over executive and legislative powers from an elected government if a national crisis took place.

The vote brought about the end of the NRC, but the NRSA was established afterwards to replace it.

The NRSA's core duty is to advise Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on national reforms.

It was speculated previously that as many as 100 members of the NRSA would come from among the former members of the NRC.

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