A veteran politician has called the new charter draft the "hat-wearing" one for it was drafted to conceal some things.
"Politics has been blamed until it becomes a disgusting thing that people can't see how anything good can come out of it. Politicians are viewed as the devils," Uthai Pimchaichon, a former House speaker and chairman of the 1997 constitution writers, said at a seminar on Saturday.
This is because the House is a place where bad things done by bad people are discussed so people understand who has done evil things and won't elect them as their representatives in the future, he said.
As the election draws near, Mr Uthai said he would like to call the draft constitution the hat-wearing charter because several things are concealed.
"For instance, senators will be selected from a number of professions instead of being elected. A person who comes from a profession will protect only his trade. The result will be the partitioning of each group's interests and not the interests of the people.
"Elections are the method to screen leaders, which are not limited to certain professions," he said.
Apart from this, Mr Uthai thinks there are other hidden agendas in the draft.
"Thais are not stupid. But even though more proposals for change are made I believe the draft won't be changed much as they think they have done the right thing.
"In the end, if people say it's no good, don't blame it on them. You cooked a spoiled dish for them and when they get a bad stomach, you can't blame it on them"
Mr Uthai said democratic rule must be based on the government of the people, by the people, for the people.
"Anything other than this is not democracy. There's no such thing as a rule by Prayut, for the people," he added, referring to Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.
"However, it seems the general understands he's not governing under democratic rule. He's just standing by until the election comes. When it actually comes is a hard guess because it keeps being put off," he said.
'No such thing as a rule by Prayut, for the people,' says Mr Uthai. (Bangkok Post file photo)
A good leader under Lord Buddha's teachings must have the following qualities: bravery, experience, knowledge, patience, especially with the people, and intelligence, he continued.
"Based on these, a leader must come from elections. But if you argue you came out of necessity, you'd better leave quickly.
"I'd like to warn soldiers who mess with politics or coup makers. History can tell us how many got out of it unscathed. I think it's fair to say there's none. Look at your predecessors and how they ended up. If you think you're better than them, stay on. But if you think you're not, you'd better back down.
"Don't believe two groups of people: those who like the status quo; and those who say you can't leave because so many things remain undone or those who don't want reform to be wasted.
"The pro-status quo group are generally well-to-do people who are in need of nothing. You can't listen to them because other groups are not like them. It's also all right to leave things unfinished for an elected government to handle."
The word of a leader is a social contract and when Gen Prayut said he would follow the roadmap, he must make good on it, Mr Uthai continued.
"Don't worry about reconciliation. The word has been used for several years. You must know the root cause of the ongoing conflicts — the interests of different groups of people. It wouldn't do to force people to listen to songs and expect them to reconcile their differences.
"If an election takes place under this hat, I'm not so sure about the future."
Mr Uthai said after the seminar he would not predict whether the charter would be endorsed in a referendum, or he might be blamed if it wasn't.
"If it is voted down, I propose that the prime minister comes from direct election and stay on for four years. We can separate the legislative and the executive branches by having the former serve two years and check on government's performance and budgets."
Mr Uthai, 78, an eight-time Chon Buri MP, first served as a Democrat MP in 1969 and two years later Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorm staged a coup against his own government.
Mr Uthai, together with two other MPs, filed a suit with the Criminal Court demanding action be taken against the coup makers on charge of treason. The court instead ruled him guilty and he was imprisoned for 10 years.
He resigned from the Democrat party later and set up his own party. In 1997, he was elected to chair the Constitution Drafting Committee of the 1997 constitution.
In 2001, he joined the Thai Rak Thai party and became the House speaker. He was later elected Bangkok senator in 2006.
Mr Uthai has since given up politics. He now lives on a farm in Chon Buri.