Politicians urge CDC to stand its ground

Politicians urge CDC to stand its ground

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon (left) has defended NCPO demands for an appointed senate, while Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Committee, has refused to endorse the measure. (File photos)
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon (left) has defended NCPO demands for an appointed senate, while Meechai Ruchupan, head of the Constitution Drafting Committee, has refused to endorse the measure. (File photos)

The Democrat and Pheu Thai parties have urged the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) not to buckle under pressure from the government over the proposed appointed Senate issue.

The two main parties have agreed the charter writing body must rise above any junta-applied pressure to have the appointed Senate in power for five years during the transitional post-election period.

An appointed Upper House is intended to help guide the next government in the implementation of national reforms, although critics say it would be instrumental in prolonging the National Council for Peace and Order's hold on power.

It was reported some NCPO military top brass and current National Legislative Assembly members might be offered seats in the appointed Senate, which may be given the authority to censure an elected government.

Deputy Democrat leader Nipit Intharasombat said CDC chairman Meechai Ruchupan has not shown any desire to change the current design of the draft charter to accommodate the proposed appointed Senate, an idea floated by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon.

"We must have faith in Mr Meechai, that he will stand his ground," Mr Nipit said.

If Mr Meechai were to alter the draft charter, Mr Nipit said he trusted the CDC chief would keep the changes to a minimum and not abandon the principles of the draft. 

The deputy Democrat leader warned the CDC would meet heavy public resistance if it gave in too much, which would carry grim prospects for the charter referendum at the end of July.

Mr Meechai said last week the NCPO must decide what changes it wants the CDC to make and submit them in writing.

Ong-art Klampaiboon, another deputy Democrat leader, said the NCPO and the government must listen to reason and not impose their will on the CDC.

He proposed the CDC should blend the cross-social group voting system for the Senate, which the CDC seeks to introduce, with a direct election. 

Under the cross vote, considered an indirect election, 200 senators from 20 social groups, 10 from each, would vote across the groups to elect members of the Upper House.

Mr Ong-art said the social groups should only be allowed to field candidates, who would then be put to a vote in an election.

Prominent Pheu Thai member Noppadon Patama said the CDC must be able to resist the pressure to write a charter that contains undemocratic content, such as the appointed Senate.

Surapong Tovichakchaikul, a Pheu Thai core member, said chances were high the draft charter would be shot down in the referendum.


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