Pheu Thai calls for people to reject draft charter

Pheu Thai calls for people to reject draft charter

The Democracy Monument in Bangkok. (Bangkok Post file photo)
The Democracy Monument in Bangkok. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Pheu Thai Party has called on Thais to reject the draft constitution on the grounds it is undemocratic and contains many provisions likely to cause more problems for the country.

The party also called for the government to amend the 2014 interim constitution, before the public referendum is held, to require the 1997 constitution to be adopted for temporary use and to call a general election in six months if the draft charter fails to pass the referendum.

The Constitution Drafting Committee chaired by Meechai Ruchupan forwarded the completed draft constitution to the government yesterday, paving the way for the public referendum tentatively set for Aug 7.

In its statement issued on Wednesday morning, the Pheu Thai Party outlined reasons why it is standing firm to its opinion that the new draft charter should be rejected at the public referendum.

The party said the draft charter was written without public participation.  It was written by a group of people appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order in the aftermath of a coup to serve the interests of the coup makers.

It said the draft charter contained many provisions which could cause more problems for the country. These included an election system intended to bring about a fragile coalition government of many political parties and an "outsider" prime minister.

The draft charter was intended to curtail the power of the House of Representatives but give more teeth to the Senate.  During the five-year transitional period, all of the 250 members of the Senate would be picked by the NCPO. Therefore, the Senate during the transition would totally represent the NCPO.

With an undemocratic constitution, the country would be plagued with more political problems, which would affect the country's investment climate and exports.  The country's economic condition would further deteriorate, said the party.

The party said that under the draft charter the Constitutional Court would have power over the parliament and the government.  It would be able to monitor the performances of the House of Representatives, the Senate, the cabinet and organisations under the constitution, and impeach cabinet members, MPs and senators by only a majority vote.

The government and MPs would find it more difficult to function because people who were not satisfied with them could easily file a petition against them with the Constitutional Court, it said.

For these reasons, Pheu Thai called for the people to reject the draft charter.

Since the draft charter did not say what would be happen next if it was rejected by the referendum, the party called for the government to amend the 2014 interim charter before the referendum is held.  

The amendment should require the 1997 constitution to be adoped for temporary use and a general election to be held in six months in the event the draft charter was killed in the referendum.

The statement concluded that even if the draft charter was not endorsed at the referendum the Pheu Thai Party believed there would still be a general election in 2017, as repeated promised by Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to the public, both inside the country and abroad.

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