Wissanu defends proposal to maintain order after poll
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Wissanu defends proposal to maintain order after poll

The government has defended its controversial charter proposal seeking a special and temporary measure to be put in effect to ensure stability during the transition period before and after a return to civilian rule.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said on Friday the cabinet is simply asking charter drafters to consider political conflicts and unrest that might occur after the general election and come up with a mechanism to deter them.

According to the charter proposal in question, the cabinet has suggested there should be a clause for a temporary measure to maintain peace and order after the general election and after a new government takes office.

Critics see this as a move by the military government to exert control over the new government.

Mr Wissanu said the proposed mechanism is intended for "the turning point", so it should be included in the provisional chapter of the charter.

He insisted the government is not calling for the establishment of a special body as some critics might have feared, stressing the cabinet proposal is only a suggestion for the charter drafters. He said if the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) thinks the charter draft is inclusive, it may choose to ignore the cabinet proposal.

And the cabinet has not sent any signal to the CDC that it must do what it has proposed, he added.

"And it isn't a proposal by the National Council for Peace and Order. I can tell you now we aren't suggesting a body like the so-called crisis panel [with sweeping powers]. We want the CDC to find an approach, and such an approach doesn't have to be a crisis panel," he said.

Prime Minister's Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuvardhana said the cabinet proposal is a reflection of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's concerns about the transition.

"We want to see a smooth transition that will help facilitate national reforms. But we stick to the main principle that a general election must be held," he said.

He said "restrictions" will be gradually eased after the transitional period when the country returns to the kind of democracy that is in compliance with international practices.

Former charter drafter Borwornsak Uwanno yesterday suggested voters should be allowed to choose which of the previously abrogated charters should be brought back, even the dropped draft version written by the former CDC which he chaired, in the event the Meechai draft is rejected at the referendum at the end of July.

"It's better than asking voters to just tick boxes 'yes' or 'no' [to the Meechai draft]," he said.

Meanwhile, CDC chairman Meechai Ruchupan yesterday made a surprise appearance at army headquarters when he turned up to clarify charter elements himself.

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