Udomdej tells politicians to 'toe NCPO line'

Udomdej tells politicians to 'toe NCPO line'

Army chief Udomdej Sitabutr has warned politicians to toe the NCPO line and not try to set up their own forums to discuss amending the draft constitution. (Bangkok Post file photo)
Army chief Udomdej Sitabutr has warned politicians to toe the NCPO line and not try to set up their own forums to discuss amending the draft constitution. (Bangkok Post file photo)

Politicians and political parties should not organise forums of their own to express opinions and criticise the draft constitution, but should toe the line drawn by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), army commander-in-chief Udomdej Sitabutr said on Monday.

Gen Udomdej, who is also deputy defence minister and NCPO secretary-general, said the NCPO was still  gathering information and suggestions on the constitution from all sides, including government offices, to be forwarded to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-gnarm, who would compile it into a report.

After that a joint meeting of the cabinet and NCPO was expected to be held on May 19 to discuss what changes should be made to the draft constitution and what should be left untouched. 

At that time Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the NCPO chairman, was expected to make clear his standpoint on the new constitution, he said.

Asked about a suggestion that political parties hold joint meetings with the Reconciliation Centre for Reform (RCR), Gen Udomdej said this could lead to even more differing opinions.

It was the prime minister's policy that the RCR organise talks for reconciliation.  In April, the RCR had invited politicians from various parties, academics, students, lawyers and others to talks. The intention was to take their opinions and suggestions and forward them to the Constitution Drafting Committee for consideration.

"I think there would be problems if forum are allowed to be held here and there, without any proper control  or understanding. I have learned that the majority of people agree with whatever will bring peace to the country, and we have been on the right track.

"Therefore, all concerned should exercise restraint regarding any changes to be made to the draft charter," Gen Udomdej said.


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