Prayut: King wishes to change charter draft

Prayut: King wishes to change charter draft

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has said he will honour a suggestion from His Majesty the King that some changes be made to a constitution that was approved in a referendum last August.

Constitution writers submitted the final draft to the cabinet on Oct 11 last year and Gen Prayut said on Dec 9 he had submitted it for royal endorsement. According to the 2014 interim charter, His Majesty has 90 days to endorse it. 

Gen Prayut said on Tuesday His Majesty told his royal advisers that he wished to have some sections about the monarchy amended. Gen Prayut did not specify what changes he desired, but said three or four points were involved.

Later in the evening, Jetn Sirataranon, a National Legislative Assembly whip, said Gen Prayut had sent a letter to the NLA's president informing him that a joint meeting of the Cabinet and the National Council for Peace and Order had agreed to amend the 2014 interim constitution.

"The NLA discussed it and agreed to deliberate the points to be amended in three readings on Friday," Dr Jetn said.

He added the issues to be amended involved the Regent and the timeframe for His Majesty to consider the constitution.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Tuesday evening the 2014 interim charter in effect now had to be amended first so the cabinet could ask for a return of the final constitution draft from the king.

In its current form, the 2014 charter does not allow changes to be made to the final constitution draft after the referendum.

"Next, the prime minister would appoint a panel of 8-10 officials from the Council of State to make changes to the constitution draft within 30 days after it is returned to him," Mr Wissanu said.

He insisted the changes had nothing to do with rights and liberties, political structure, elections or other political processes.

"They involve only the chapter about the King," he said.

After it is done, the draft will be resubmitted to the king, who will take no more than 90 days to consider endorsing it.

The deputy prime minister confirmed the sections to be amended are 5, 17 and 182 but said other laws might be changed as well if they are related.

He insisted the changes would not affect the roadmap to the election in 2018.

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