Referendum 'will decide charter fate'

Referendum 'will decide charter fate'

Now is not the time to amend the 2017 charter, the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) said yesterday, adding the issue should be settled through a referendum.

PPRP leader Uttama Savanayana was reacting to a social pact made by the prime ministerial candidates of five political parties at a forum on Sunday. They vowed to seek changes to the constitution if elected.

Mr Uttama said if the public demand changes, the PPRP would comply.

He also pointed out that the charter was adopted because it was accepted by a referendum, adding that the same process should be respected before any amendments are made.

The social pact came at the conclusion of a political debate at Thammasat University's Tha Phrachan campus, after the five politicians were asked to share their views on the coup-sponsored charter and the regime's 20-year national strategy.

They were Pheu Thai's chief strategist Khunying Sudarat Keyuraphan, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva, Chartpattana chief adviser Suwat Liptapanlop, Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, and New Economics Party leader Mingkwan Saengsuwan.

Mr Uttama dismissed as a campaign tactic Khunying Sudarat's call for voters to cast ballots for her party to keep the regime from prolonging its stay in power.

"I don't see how it can be a prolonged stay in power. It depends who wins the elections and who gets a mandate to form a government. Let the people decide," he said.

Defending the party's campaign proposal to raise the minimum wage to 425 baht, Mr Uttama said this would be rolled out gradually. He said it could be achieved if all sectors joined hands in drawing up a strategy and made the issue a national agenda item.

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