Three parties want to rewrite charter

Three parties want to rewrite charter

Thanathorn, Chaturon insist it's No.1 priority

Representatives from three political parties have put forward their plan to amend the current junta-sponsored 2017 constitution after the general election is held. However, the charter is written in such a way that change is almost impossible by following the normal process.

Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and Chaturon Chaisang, a senior member of the Pheu Thai Party, Thursday agreed at a forum that changing the whole charter is a top priority for their parties after the poll.

"The whole 2017 constitution should be scrapped as it is undemocratic and passed by a referendum that lacked transparency. Moreover, the charter also forces future governments to stick with the junta's 20-year national development blueprint," Mr Thanathorn said.

Mr Chaturon said the national strategy will impose additional burdens on future governments as they will be required to comply with the new law.

"If politicians in the future governments do not follow the junta's 20-year national strategy, they could be sacked from their positions or even end up in jail, which is unfair," he said.

"To amend the charter, approval from at least three quarters of members of parliament, one-third of senators, and 10% of MPs from opposition parties is required. In addition, a minimum of four referendums will be required during the amendment process," Mr Chaturon said.

Mr Thanathorn said the only way to successfully amend the charter is to raise awareness and gain people's acceptance to change it. Mr Chaturon urged all pro-democracy parties to join in this task.

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva agreed that the junta-sponsored 2017 constitution should be amended, however, it should not be the top priority of the new government because the amendment would take a long time. He believes the elected government should focus its efforts on other problems first.

"I believe the committee which oversees the 20-year national development plan will understand if the new government decides to do something that better fits with the context of society at the time even if it may be against the original blueprint. Context changes all the time and priorities can shift in five years from what they are today," he said.

Mr Abhisit also urged the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to revoke its orders that obstruct the activities of political parties and ensure a free and fair election as soon as possible. The Constitutional Court has already cleared the last possible legal controversy that could push back a general election tentatively scheduled for February.

"[NCPO chief] Gen Prayut [Chan-o-cha] should make it clear about their role in the upcoming election and whether they want to be one of the players or simply just referees. If he wants to be a player, that's fine for me, but he must compete with politicians fairly from the start," Mr Abhisit said.

Representatives from the Pheu Thai, Future Forward and Democrat parties hold the same position on amending the charter.

Meanwhile, pro-junta figure Paiboon Nititawan, said he has no problem with the current constitution.

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