Drafting new charter 'may take 17 mths'
PM's Office Minister Thirapat Serirangsan yesterday hinted that the interim government might be in place for more than one year because of the constitution-drafting process.
Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont had previously vowed to heal a divided nation, promising to relinquish power after a year. However, Thirapat told reporters the administration may have to stay longer.
According to the minister, the 2,000 members of the National Legislative As-sembly would have only seven days to select 200 candidates from among themselves for the Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA). From that group of 200, the Council for National Security would then select the 100-member CDA.
The Council for Democratic Reform, which ousted the government of ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra on September 19, had promised to draft a new charter within eight months and to hold elections in October 2007.
"Many organisations will be formed following the interim constitution law. If we consider the period of time needed to [draft] the constitution and for the Election Commission to organise the poll, it could take one year and five months," Thirapat said yesterday.
The government didn't want to remain in power any longer than needed, he said. "The premier told the Cabinet we have to run the country through necessity."
Asked about the premier's earlier comments to foreign ambassadors that the interim government would serve for just one year, Thirapat replied he didn't know exactly what the PM said.
"I have to raise this issue in the Cabinet to make all sides understand the period of the government's administration will be determined by the process of constitution drafting," he said.