Prawit vows no more draft charter tweaks
published : 29 Mar 2016 at 04:00
newspaper section: News
The draft charter prepared by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) will go straight to a referendum without any revisions, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon promised Monday.
"It's done. No one will dare to touch it. It will go to a referendum for the people to decide," he said. According to Gen Prawit, the draft constitution should be good enough to drive the country forward.
"In the big picture, the country should move forward [under this charter]. But it's impossible to like every single item in the document," he said.
The final version of the draft charter will be handed to the government by CDC chief Meechai Ruchupan Tuesday. The charter will be put up for a public referendum in early August, and if people vote in favour, a general election will take place as scheduled in July next year, after four organic laws are enacted.
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Mr Meechai stressed again Monday that the right to elect the prime minister will only belong to the House of Representatives, not the whole parliament.
He said there was a misunderstanding about choosing the prime minister and he wanted to make clear that the Senate will not be allowed to elect the premier.
According to Mr Meechai, the Upper House is only allowed to take part in a vote on whether to ignore the three-candidate rule. If this rule is voted down, the nomination for prime minister and the election process will be in the hands of the House of Representatives.
The three-candidate rule refers to a clause that requires each political party to nominate their three candidates for a prime ministerial vote before a general election.
Mr Meechai expressed confidence the CDC can clear up this issue and allay fears about an "outsider" prime minister, which seem to have grown following its decision to let the military regime have the final word on the appointment of senators.
Meanwhile, the US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Sarah Sewall ourged Thailand to restore full democracy, during a four-day visit to Thailand that ended with a courtesy call on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha Monday.
She stressed the importance of ensuring full respect for freedom of expression and other fundamental rights and freedoms to secure stable and sustainable governance and institutions.
Ms Sewall's visit was to intended to engage government officials and civil society representatives on issues stemming from the 183 year-old US-Thai partnership.
Sarah Sewall, the US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights, made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Prayut as she wound up a four-day official visit with a call on the government to respect freedom of expression. (Photo courtesy of Government House)