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PM wants world to accept the new charter




– Thailand news compiled by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

PM wants world to accept the new charter
The Nation / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: The new charter must be accepted by the international community, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday.

After the Cabinet meeting yesterday at Government House, PM Prayut said he was not worried about domestic acceptance of the new constitution, but then asked what if the international community rejects it.

“If they [international community] won’t accept it [the new charter], they will claim that our country has no democracy, similar to what they think about Article 44 under the interim charter. We use it to benefit the country, but they accuse us of coercing [people on this],” PM Prayut said.

The PM said the government would invite legal specialists from Germany and France to share experiences about drafting their charters and how they manage after a coup. He spoke after a meeting of the five junta-appointed agencies.

“The NCPO has solved less than 30 per cent of the problems facing the country. We need the public to know how we can move forward and end divisions. We need public acceptance. That is why we need to look how foreign countries tackle their problems,” PM Prayut said.

The PM also insisted the new charter is not drafted to benefit any political party in particular, saying the importance of the Constitution was to create a learning process for people both domestically and internationally on how the new charter is different from previous ones and for what reasons.

Meanwhile, PM Prayut cast doubt on people’s level of understanding of the new constitution and democracy itself.

“I want people to ask how they could cooperate, but no one asks such questions. They only ask when there will be an election,” the PM said.

Nonetheless, PM Prayut put the question back to the public, saying there have been calls for an election as soon as possible but one must ask: “Does Thailand today need reforming? If not and you request an election to be held now – just tell me so I can take a rest.”

He said the new constitution should focus on national reform to prevent corruption and have better checks and balances, since scrutiny to prevent people doing wrong was not clear.

Asked whether the government will help people understand the constitution and the process of how it came to its final draft, PM Prayut replied the government was still discussing this matter.

“Sometimes people do not understand this matter clearly, they only understand that democracy is having an election and give full freedom and authority to the people, but no-one asks for the people’s role.

“I want people to question their duties on how they can cooperate with the government,” he added.

The PM was also asked whether the government is considering holding a referendum on the new charter, but Prayut now was not the time to consider that issue.

Meanwhile, an official said the government was keeping to a schedule that includes an election in early 2016.

“We are committed to the road map where an election will happen after the new constitution is put in place,” NCPO spokesman Col Winthai Suvari said.

He said the constitution was due to be completed later this year, but he refused to comment on statements by other officials that the junta could stay in power longer, if necessary.

That statement came after PM Prayut reportedly visited a famous astrologer, who said he should stay in power for three more years.

But PM Prayut has reportedly told the fortune-teller to stop predicting his future. He insisted that he will follow the road map to restore democracy and hold an election next year.

— Phuket Gazette Editors


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