CDC can veto post-election Senate plan

CDC can veto post-election Senate plan

Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Committee, is reportedly uncomfortable about a military demand for appointed senators in the charter. (Photo by Jiraporn Kuhakan)
Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Committee, is reportedly uncomfortable about a military demand for appointed senators in the charter. (Photo by Jiraporn Kuhakan)

The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) reserves the right not to follow the suggestion for appointed senators to serve in the transitional post-poll period, charter writing head Meechai Ruchupan says.

He skipped a Monday meeting of the key organisations among the so-called "five rivers" of power. The five rivers are the cabinet, the National Council for Peace and Order, the National Legislative Assembly, the CDC and the National Reform Steering Assembly.

Mr Meechai denied his non-attendance at the meeting was because he did not want to make a commitment about the appointed Senate issue.

Speculations is rife Mr Meechai feels uncomfortable about a charter proposal calling for a chamber of appointed senators serving a five-year term through the transitional post-election period.

"The CDC won't ask the cabinet for details about the proposal and we won't wait for details because we have our job to do.

"If the [five rivers] make a joint resolution that is against the CDC's principles, I'll examine the reasons," he said.

However, no decision was made regarding the Senate issue at Monday's meeting, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said.

Asked if he was concerned about being given an instruction to insert a clause on an appointed Senate in the draft charter, Mr Meechai said: "They can give orders, but whether or not we'll comply depends."

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon recently proposed that senators should be hand-picked to ensure the success of national reforms during the transitional, post-election period. His idea, welcomed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, drew scepticism from politicians who see it as a way to keep an elected government under military control.

Mr Meechai said the final draft should be almost complete by March 23 when the CDC meets in Prachuap Khiri Khan to go through it one last time.


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