New constitution a recipe for more problems, red shirts say

politics January 28, 2017 01:00


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CERTAIN clauses in the new charter are likely to renew political conflicts rather than encourage reconciliation, speakers a panel talk hosted by the red shirts said yesterday.

Direk Thungfang, a former senator who led the reconciliation committee for political reform and constitutional amendment in 2009, likened the new constitution to a beautiful person with heart disease. He arged that the clause that allows a non-MP to become prime minister would lead to new political conflict.

“The new government formed after the next election will certainly amend this clause. And there will be a new round of conflict and possibly another coup. The problem will be unending,” Direk said.

He spoke at an event organised by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) at the Imperial Lat Phrao department store.

Nattawut Saikua, a UDD leader, said at the discussion that the new charter, designed to be the country’s highest law, was not “a road built to facilitate reconciliation”.

He also said that the constitution could lead to new conflicts.

However, Nattawut said the UDD was ready to cooperate with the post-coup government’s latest effort to push for national reconciliation.

“We will not stand in the way of this reconciliation effort, as has always been the case. We are a political organisation, and not a militant one. We will never reject any forum that is aimed at reducing conflict,” he said.

The red-shirt leader noted that the latest reconciliation effort was being carried out in an authoritarian style and seemed to be influenced by people in power. He said most members of the government-appointed reconciliation committee were from the military.

Direk suggested that all parties involved in conflicts over the past decade should sit on the reconciliation panel, including those from political parties and academia. 

He voiced support to a proposal that would require all conflicting parties to sign an agreement promising to do and not do certain things to prevent conflicts.

Direk suggested that reconciliation should start with refraining from provocative rhetoric, biased behaviour and mud-slinging, before sitting down at the negotiation table. The root cause of the conflict should be determined in order to tackle the problem, he said.