Prayut to accept blame if charter rejected

Prayut to accept blame if charter rejected

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addresses the nation and summarises the military government's annual report in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec 23, 2015. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)
Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha addresses the nation and summarises the military government's annual report in Bangkok, Thailand, Dec 23, 2015. (Photo by Thanarak Khunton)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha says he will accept responsibility if the new draft constitution fails to pass the public referendum and has promised to lay down a national reform strategy for the next 20 years during the time remaining to his government.

Gen Prayut made the commitment at Government House on Wednesday morning when he led his cabinet ministers in outlining his administration's achievements during its first year in office.

The prime minister said after 83 years of the nation suffering through trial and tribulation, he wanted to see true reform. 

"We, therefore, plan to lay down a national reform strategy for the next 20 years. We must achieve democracy. But this will also depend on future governments," Gen Prayut said, adding that he would try to finish this job in the remaining one-and-a-half years, under the National Council for Peace and Order's (NCPO) road map.

He said what Thai people need is security.  In the economic and social fields, the people should be able to live in peace without conflict.

On the matter of foreign affairs, the country needs to go on the offensive.

The country needs to have strong administrative and legal systems to ensure fairness in the justice process. The people should no longer tolerate disrespect of the law, otherwise unity and reconciliation will not be restored.

The prime minister stressed his pracharat, or people's state policy, saying all the so-called "five rivers" must work with the people and listen to their opinions to emphasise the people's participation. 

He said the NCPO is duty-bound to support the government's work, to maintain peace and stability.

"I don't want the people to look at the NCPO as a panacea for everything. Similarly, the NCPO's power under Section 44 of the interim charter is not so the government can suppress people, but to facilitate the solving of various problems. All ministries must go on the offensive. They must take the initiative, and should not leave this task to the NCPO alone," he said.

Gen Prayut said the people should not be afraid that everything he has done will be wasted.

He urged the people to make proper use of democracy. "That is to say, they must turn out to vote in referendums and elections, otherwise only some groups of people will come out and elect members of their clans," he said.

On the referendum on the new charter, Gen Prayut said: "If the draft charter fails to pass the referendum, I will have to take responsibility anyway. I just want everyone to go out and cast their vote."  He did not elaborate on taking responsibility.

He joked that those who fail to vote should maybe be subject to higher tax.

After Gen Prayut finished, the deputy prime ministers took turns delivering their own statement of their achievements.  

The cabinet ministers of all ministries were to do the same in the afternoon.

On Dec 25, starting at 3pm, Gen Prayut will again deliver a summary of the government's achievements during its first year in office. 

All ministers will also go on television, in turn, to outline their achievements between Dec 23 and Jan 13, starting with the defence minister on Dec 23 and culminating with the industry minister on Jan 13.


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