Pheu Thai plays down panel race

Pheu Thai plays down panel race

Charter study chief a 'minor issue': Pokin

Pheu Thai Party strategist Pokin Polakul said on Monday the party has no issues with anyone chairing the charter change study panel, as long as they are really committed to rewriting the constitution.

"Someone with experience in charter drafting would be especially well-suited to become the committee's chairperson," added Mr Pokin.

Mr Pokin made the remarks at a Pheu Thai internal meeting, after Deputy House Speaker and Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) MP, Suchart Tancharoen, revealed that he had been asked by some PPRP members to take up the chairmanship of the committee on charter amendment study.

Mr Suchart said he declined to be nominated because of his busy schedule as deputy House speaker.

When asked about reports that he himself will be nominated by Pheu Thai to lead the committee, however, Mr Pokin neither confirmed nor denied the claims -- calling it a "minor issue" and that he'd rather pay more attention to ideas from all sides about how the charter should be amended, so that the whole country can get on with it and move on.

"All I want to do is to work for the public to ensure fairness in the entire process, and that all sides abide by the rules which have been agreed by everyone," he said.

Mr Pokin also sided with Mr Suchart, who proposed that the chairman of the committee for charter amendment study should be an "outsider".

Previously, senior Pheu Thai member Watana Muangsook said that he, Mr Pokin, former MP for Khon Kaen, Phongsakon Annopphon, and seven other MPs would be nominated by the party to sit on the charter study committee under the opposition's quota.

The committee will comprise 49 members, which will be divided further depending on who they represent. Eighteen seats are reserved for the ruling coalition, 19 for the opposition, while the remaining 12 seats are allocated for cabinet ministers.

Deputy Prime Minister Jurin Laksanawisit, in his capacity as the leader of the Democrat Party, insisted the party will nominate former leader, Abhisit Vejjajiva, to chair the charter amendment study committee.

Mr Jurin also said the government will decide on the coalition government's nomination. However, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said the decision lies entirely with MPs, not the government.

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai declined to comment on the nominations, saying that all names appear to be "well-qualified" for the role.

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