Public sceptical of new charter: poll

politics December 11, 2017 01:00


WHILE MOST people are aware of anti-corruption mechanisms promoted in the 2017 Constitution, they also view the charter as a tool used by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to prolong its time in power, according to Suan Dusit Poll results released yesterday.

The poll entitled “Thai charter in people’s eyes” was conducted from Wednesday to Saturday in light of Constitution Day yesterday.

Promulgated in April of this year, the charter, whose drafters were handpicked by the junta, has been promoted for its graft-fighting mechanisms, increased legal obligations, legal enforcement by the courts and the use of independent organisations to carry out government actions.

This same charter, however, is controversial, as some of its so-called innovations tend to not only tone down the influence of the existing major parties but also likely pave the way for political outsiders to hold power.

For instance, the new mixed-member apportionment election system will probably scatter MPs’ seats to parties of medium and small sizes. The entire Senate will be handpicked by the junta and the selection procedure for the premiership could allow an outsider to get the job.

The draft of the Kingdom’s 20th constitution was publicly approved in last year’s referendum. Campaigners with different opinions were tightly controlled and some were even convicted of offences.

While 72 per cent of all 1,164 people agreed that the current charter was rich with graft-fighting elements, 65 per cent thought that it would be hard to amend it as this would require approval from both the upper and lower houses.

Sixty-three per cent thought it would pave the way for a prime minister from outside, almost 58 per cent thought that it would allow the NCPO to prolong its stay in power and more than 55 per cent thought that the new electoral system might result in an unstable government.

Almost 46 per cent thought the charter would make governance more state-centric with less emphasis on public participation.

Asked for their opinions on the charter, 36 per cent agreed that it focused on fighting corruption, 26 per cent hoped that it would bring about justice for all people and 26 per cent hopes it would be practical and would not be adjusted too often.