Prayut spurns political parties' opposition to draft charter

Prayut spurns political parties' opposition to draft charter

Army chief Gen Theerachai Nakvanich (left), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam (right) chat at Gen Prem Tinsulanonda's residence in Bangkok on Monday morning.(Photo by Thanarak Khuntong)
Army chief Gen Theerachai Nakvanich (left), Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Deputy PM Wissanu Krea-ngam (right) chat at Gen Prem Tinsulanonda's residence in Bangkok on Monday morning.(Photo by Thanarak Khuntong)

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has shrugged off political parties' opposition to the draft constitution, saying he would not care if they refused to run in the next general election.

Gen Prayut said this after leading the cabinet, military top brass and leading members of public and private organisations to give Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda their blessings on the occasion of the Songkran Festival, which marks the traditional Thai New Year.

The Democrat Party on Sunday openly announced that it found the draft charter and additional question unacceptable. Several key members of the Pheu Thai Party have repeatedly come out to lambast the draft charter.

Gen Prayut said political parties could voice opposition to the charter, but it was the people who would decide at the referendum, tentatively set for Aug 7.

The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chairman said he believed a considerable number of people were on his side, just as political parties had their own supporters.

Asked what politicians were worrying about, Gen Prayut said they were afraid they would not be as powerful as before, when they could do anything, whether good or bad, by claiming they had received a  mandate from the people.

"But I would like to ask whether they correctly used the power given to them by the people," he said.

The Democrat Party also demanded the NCPO to reveal what would be done next if the draft charter failed to pass the referendum.

In response, Gen Prayut said: "In that case, it is I who will have the power to decide what to do. Do you understand the word 'power'?  It is I who will decide whether to tell."

"Why do so many people want to know about it? What they should be interested in now is the referendum," he added.

Asked what he would do if two major political parties did not run in  the general election slated for 2017, Gen Prayut said: "Good. If they don't want to run, don't run. Let other parties do so."

He stressed that everything must be according to the law.

Gen Prayut said if those who were against the draft charter actively demonstrated their opposition, they would end up in jail.

He stressed that political parties had not yet been allowed to hold a press conference. Even so, many politicians had spoken through the mass media.  He therefore he did not see any reason why he should let them open an opinion forum, because that would only let them launch more attacks on him, Gen Prayut added.


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