Charter rewrite panel seeks public opinion
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Charter rewrite panel seeks public opinion

Senators also asked to give their input

A sub-committee tasked with gathering public opinion on a charter rewrite referendum has kicked off its work with a plan to wrap up its assignment by the third week of December.

The panel, chaired by Nikorn Chamnong, is one of two sub-committees under the government committee to study the design of the charter amendment referendum headed by Deputy Prime Minister Phumtham Wechayachai.

The other is tasked with drawing up guidelines for a referendum.

Speaking after the meeting with the Senate committee on political development and public participation, Mr Nikorn said the Senate's opinions are being sought because their votes can determine the outcome of the charter rewrite proposal.

He said the senators are also being urged to deliberate the questions proposed for the referendum and make suggestions for discussion when parliament reconvenes.

According to Mr Nikorn, his panel will later this week meet Move Forward Party (MFP) MP Parit Wacharasindhu in his capacity as the chairman of the House committee on political development to discuss the matter.

Gathering opinions from MPs and senators is crucial to the work although their opinions may carry different weight, he said, adding the panel will also hold talks with the main opposition MFP to find a solution as the party disagrees with this approach.

After collecting input from student and youth groups next week at Government House, the panel will hold a public hearing tour across the country with the final forum scheduled for Dec 7 in the deep South.

The findings should be ready for submission to the Phumtham committee by the third week of December and the summary will be forwarded to the government early next year, he said.

Mr Nikorn said the government has decided to have a new charter written, without making changes to chapters 1 and 2, because the rewrite process allows people to take part and ensures the new charter reflects their will.

Meanwhile, senator Jadet Insawang, vice chairman of the Senate committee on public participation, on Monday doubted that the charter amendment would benefit the general public.

He said the charter amendment should not be hurried and the matter is likely to create an extensive debate that might potentially lead to a new round of political division.

The senator said he disagrees with the idea of completely rewriting the charter but is willing to review the proposed changes point by point.

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