Suthep boldly supports draft charter

Suthep boldly supports draft charter

Suthep Thaugsuban, chairman of the Muan Maha Prachachon for Reform Foundation, has declared support for the draft constitution, saying it is suitable for the current situation in the country.

Mr Suthep was secretary-general of the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which carried out street protests against the government of Yingluck Shinawatra, leading to the May 22, 2014 coup by the National Council for Peace and Order.

The Muan Maha Prachakorn for Reforms Foundation is seen as a re-incarnation of the PDRC.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Mr Suthep was full of praise for the draft charter, which is scheduled to be put to a public referendum on Aug 7, particularly the preface which says the Thai people want a democratic form of administration under the monarchy.

He said the country had not been in a normal situation up until May 22, 2014, prompting Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to take over the administration to find a solution.

The draft charter, written by the Constitution Drafting Committee chaired by Meechai Ruchupan, clearly provided a way out without requiring another coup if a similar crisis as in the past occurred. In that case, there would be a 13-member committee, chaired by the president of the Constitutional Court, to decide what to do to break the impasse, Mr Suthep said.

The former PDRC leader said that the new draft charter also has a special chapter for the country's reforms. This was never included in past constitutions, he said.

Mr Suthep added that the draft charter also includes national strategies for reforms, which would require the next government to follow. If any successor governments do not, the people could sue them.

He praised the draft for ensuring only people who do not belong to any political party can be members of the Senate. It was a guarantee that future senators would be truly independent.

Mr Suthep also agreed to the requirement for political parties to each name three persons they would propose to take the post of prime minister. Although critics said this would make way for an "outsider" to be prime minister, in certain situations an outside prime minister was necessary, he added.

Concerning the provisional clause which requires a 250-member Senate appointed by the NCPO to perform its duties during a five-year transitional period, Mr Suthep said he agreed to this provision because the future situation was hard to predict, adding that the NCPO wanted to make sure the situation after the election was normal without problems.

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