CDC chief ready to visit even sensitive areas to discuss the constitution draft

national May 04, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

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CHIEF CONSTITUTION writer Meechai Ruchupan maintained yesterday that the drafters would not circumvent politically sensitive areas in disseminating information about the charter.



The Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) is tasked by the 2014 interim charter and the recent referendum law to disseminate information about the draft charter. In order to help voters with their decision in the upcoming referendum on August 7.
In the run-up to the referendum, the CDC has to travel up and down the country to fulfill its task, making sure that members of the public understand the charter before they cast their votes. However, concern has arisen that the drafters might face opposition during their trips, as there are active opposition groups – those opposing the charter, as well as those against the current regime.
Meechai said the drafters were not worried, even though they would sometimes have to explain the charter in the strongholds of those opposing the military-led regime under which the CDC was appointed to write a new constitution.
Last month, Meechai himself met with such opponents when he was giving a lecture about the rationale behind the charter draft, soon after its completion and when it was first being publicised.
The security of the drafters has since become a concern.
The CDC chairman also said yesterday that he was not 100 per cent certain about the security measures provided by the officers at each venue, although they have vowed to take immediate action against opponents trying to ruin the stages set aside for explaining the draft.
However, he expressed confidence that the CDC’s network and volunteers would be able to handle any unfavourable situations, as they were local people from each area. 
In a related development, CDC spokesman Norachit Sinhaseni, a veteran diplomat, yesterday met with foreign ambassadors and representatives of international organisations to update them on the current situation relating to the charter draft and the planned referendum.
He said he had informed them that the charter, which he stressed to his audience had been crafted to specifically suit the Thai context, had been completed and could be put to the nation in a national plebiscite on August 7. 
The CDC took the cue from its chief, Meechai, that comments from the international community were not necessary because the constitution belonged solely to the Thai Kingdom.
Moreover, the National Council for Peace and Order has also given a clear guideline that the CDC should come up with a charter that suits Thailand best, and that is in line with international standards.
Norachit stressed that the CDC had no responsibility to explain the charter to the international community, but since many ambassadors had shown interest, it had agreed to hold yesterday’s forum.
In addition, the CDC spokesman provided three scenarios for the referendum outcome.
“If both the charter and the extra question [empowering the next Senate to have a role in choosing a prime minister] pass, the provisional clauses would be amended accordingly. But, if both fail, the CDC would be dissolved and a new panel should be set up to write a new charter,” he said. 
“If only the extra question passes, the new charter drafters would have to consider such a referendum result,” he added.
The international representatives and ambassadors yesterday showed interest in and inquired about the origin of the Senate under the provisional clauses, and they expressed understanding of his explanation, Norachit said.
Forty-seven diplomatic representatives attended the forum, along with representatives from six international organisations. 
 

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