Big political parties, PDRC steer clear of reform council

national August 03, 2014 01:00

By The Sunday Nation

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Pheu Thai, Democrats and small groups unlikely to nominate NRC candidates

The country’s two largest political parties, as well as the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), will likely not nominate anyone from their organisations as candidates for the junta-selected National Reform Council (NRC). 

Politicians from the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties, as well as the smaller Rak Prathet Thai Party said yesterday the possibility was very slim for their parties to join.
The process for nomination starts on August 9.
Ekanat Promphan, spokesperson of the PDRC, said while there has been no discussion amongst PDRC leaders about the matter, his personal view is that the PDRC need not send anyone to join the reform council as it wasn’t the PDRC’s objective.
Ekanat said the PDRC had been demanding reforms and would support the council by giving advice and believed that junta leader General Prayuth Chan-ocha was sincere in pushing for reform. He said the PDRC would also keep a close eye on the process. Ekanat added that it was the right of some academics who had taken part in PDRC activities to join the NRC if nominated. 
He also warned that it may be premature for some politicians to become members of the reform council as allowed by the junta’s order No 119, as it may lead to politicians pushing for reforms that benefit them. Even if they are chosen, the number of politicians within the NRC should be limited so they can be controlled.
Democrat Party deputy leader Nipit Intrasombat, meanwhile, said the party had not discussed the matter, as political party meetings and activities have been banned by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Nipit added that the cancelling of state funding to political parties was taxing to the party, which has 200 branches and regular expenditure.
He said Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva had stated earlier that it wouldl not nominate anyone to join the reform council but would provide advice to the NCPO on a regular basis instead. He noted that it was unclear if Abhisit’s stance had since changed and acknowledged differing views within the party on the matter and the need to meet and discuss about it.
Udomdej Rattanasatien, former Nonthaburi MP for the Pheu Thai Party, said the party would not nominate anyone, as the party wants to play a role on the democratic path. Udomdej added, however, that the party had been cooperative with the NCPO.
Udomdej pointed out that a number of Pheu Thai MPs have already expressed views about what reforms are needed and the council should feel free to pick up the ideas. He added, however, that the party has yet to formally meet to discuss the matter as political parties are banned from holding meetings.
Chuwit Kamolvisit, leader of Rak Prathet Thai (Love Thailand) Party, also said politicians should not join the council, as the aim of the reform is to curb the powers of politicians so having them on the council could lead to conflict of interest.

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