THE TIMELINE for Thailand's politics over the next 18 months now seems to be clearer, given what has been drafted in the provisional constitution that is due to be announced soon.
According to the draft, and what has been announced by National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, the country will have a new permanent constitution next July, while an elected government will be formed by the end of next year.
Under the provisional charter, a National Legislative Assembly consisting of 200 members will act as the Parliament. It will select the prime minister, who will set up the Cabinet.
The NCPO will remain in power and work in parallel with the government until the new constitution is announced.
Meanwhile, a 250-member National Reform Council will be formed, with the goal of the selection process being to get qualified, knowledgeable and experienced people from all sectors and all provinces as council members.
The selection process and the formation of the council could be completed within about two months of the proclamation of the provisional charter.
The reform council’s work will start in early October and look into all areas, including politics, economy, social, environment, energy, and the justice system.
It will provide a report with suggestions to a constitution drafting committee, which will draft the new charter over the next 10 months.
A well-informed NCPO source, who asked not to be named, said the provisional charter was the result of a collaborative effort between legal expert Wissanu Kreangam and the junta.
They deliberated together on the power of the administrative, legislative and judicial branches and the work of judges, as well as on the monarchy and an amnesty for the coup-makers, said the source.
The 45 main articles of the draft provisional charter, and the other five articles of the law to be announced, have been scrutinised from all angles, he said.
“It must be acknowledged that |there will be people who agree and disagree with the provisional charter, especially on the power of the NCPO,” he added.
“The drafting of the provisional charter is aimed at enabling the country’s administration according to the rule of law, and allowing national reform in all its aspects.
“Then, it would lead to a new permanent constitution following suggestions by a National Reform Council,” the NCPO source said.
The source also said that those armed forces commanders who are due to retire at the end of September had agreed they would not stay in their posts beyond that date.
However, whether they adhere to this would depend on the situation at the time, he added.