PMs, Cabinet members cannot stay on as caretakers, CDC decides
The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) agreed yesterday that future prime ministers and Cabinet members should be barred from running the country in a caretaker capacity after the dissolution of the House in order to avoid power abuse and undue electoral influence.
The agreement was nearly unanimous as drafters sought ways to prevent abuse of power by a political party such as they said hit a peak during the deposed Thaksin Shinawatra's administration.
"They're like hungry tigers," said Vicha Mahakun, one CDC drafter, of political parties, adding that provincial governors were often forced to help in election campaigns. "So are we really going to allow them to stay on [after House dissolution]? The country is already in a bad way."
An interim administration, under a person not formally titled prime minister to avoid legal confusion, will be selected by the Supreme Court, Supreme Administrative Court and Constitution Tribunal.
On the issue of political-party donations, the committee has also decided to put a ceiling of Bt10 million on them in order to avoid a single person having undue influence over a party.
People donating Bt10,000 or more to a party will also be required to declare the contribution, and if a donation is from a corporation, it must first be approved at a general meeting.
The CDC meeting also agreed that the new charter should try to rearrange the relationship between ministers and senior bureaucrats to avoid abuse of power.
It was also agreed that, while not easy to correct, it was a known fact that politicians interfered in the transfer or promotion of officials and too much protection and autonomy accorded to bureaucrats could also mean the government was not able to push projects forward.
"Bureaucrats may decide not to do anything if they become untouchable. It's better to have a transparent system," said CDC drafter Pisit Lee-atham.
Committee chairman Prasong Soonsiri specifically asked the committee to find a way to ensure that any politician impeached or convicted forfeit any royal decoration. Legal details still have to be worked out, however.
A proposal was made and approved to find ways to stop influential politicians from keeping MPs under their control by paying them a monthly salary. Ways of achieving this still also have to be ironed out.
The new charter will also require future governments to come up with plans for political development and maintenance of the moral and ethical standards of politicians, government officials and employees of state enterprises.