Nataphol wants PPRP to head charter panel

Nataphol wants PPRP to head charter panel

Abhisit still remains the popular choice

Education Minister and Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) deputy leader Nataphol Teepsuwan has insisted that the chairman of a House committee set up to study constitutional amendments should come from the PPRP.

Political etiquette required the post be given to someone from the party, which is the main government partner, he said.

His comments came after a meeting of Democrat Party MPs on Tuesday backed its former leader and ex-prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to head the panel.

However, Mr Nataphol said he did not believe the issue would snowball into a conflict between the two coalition partners -- the Democrats and the PPRP.

He said that executives of the two parties had not yet discussed the matter, adding there was no need for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to step in and make a decision on the issue.

Deputy Prime Minister and Bhumjaithai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul said his party would not nominate anyone for the post.

"Bhumjaithai will not add fuel to the fire," Mr Anutin said, adding that the current constitution is hard to amend so it would be best if everyone devoted their time to work.

The PPRP was reportedly looking to nominate Deputy House Speaker Suchart Tancharoen to head the panel.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Suchart said he was not interested as he was focused on his present role. Priority should be given to others who are qualified for the post, he said.

Asked if the committee chairman should come from the opposition or the government, Mr Suchart said that constitutional amendments are an important issue and should involve all political parties, as well as the Senate.

Justice Minister and deputy PPRP leader Somsak Thepsutin said the committee chairman should be a neutral so the charter amendment process can proceed smoothly.

Mr Somsak echoed the view that the charter rewrite issue will not cause a rift in the coalition, saying the government just began work a few months ago.

Mr Abhisit's name was thrown into the hat when Democrat MP for Nakhon Si Thammarat Thepthai Senpong voiced support for handing the former party leader a place on the House panel.

During the election campaign, Mr Abhisit advocated rewriting the charter, which became a Democrat Party precondition for joining the PPRP-led coalition. However, he quit as an MP ahead of the vote to select the prime minister.

Suthin Khlangsaeng, the opposition chief whip and Pheu Thai MP for Maha Sarakham, has also backed Mr Abhisit, saying he is the most qualified candidate when compared with the PPRP's nominees. He said the opposition parties they seem to agree that Mr Abhisit is a suitable choice.

However, Mr Abhisit told the Bangkok Post he has yet to decide whether to join charter study panel.

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