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EC to push ahead with plan for poll

Kamnans, village heads and officials from local administrative bodies gather in front of the Defence Ministry yesterday.

Kamnans, village heads and officials from local administrative bodies gather in front of the Defence Ministry yesterday.

To begin drafting decree for July 20 election, as Abhisit defends his proposal for interim govt

The Election Commission is pushing ahead with plans for a national election on July 20 and is set to draft a Royal Decree to begin the process, after a proposal by opposition leader Abhisit Vejjajiva to end the political deadlock received a cool response.

EC chairman Supachai Somcharoen said yesterday that the commission would meet tomorrow to draft the decree for a second poll.

If the draft was completed at the meeting, it would be submitted to the Cabinet for consideration on the same day, he said.

Asked if the EC wanted to comment on Abhisit's proposal to delay the election to allow for national reforms to occur first, Supachai said the commission had not received the proposal and it was up to the government to decide on the matter.

"If the government has no other ideas, we will continue the process for the election as agreed upon earlier," Supachai told reporters.

"I don't know whether the election will go smoothly. Let's see in the future. I don't want to anticipate anything now."

The anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), which managed to derail the previous election in February, has vowed to block the July 20 poll as well.

The Democrats said they would not take part in the poll if Abhisit's reform plan was rejected by the government.

The government has dismissed Abhisit's proposal as unconstitutional.

Abhisit, a former premier, proposed a 10-step road map, beginning with delaying the election and setting up a non-elected government to take care of reforms before the poll.

Noppadon Pattama, a lawyer for former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, posted a message on his Facebook page criticising Abhisit's proposal, saying it would not bring the country out of the political impasse as it was unconstitutional.

He said the proposal to have the caretaker PM and the caretaker Cabinet step down was contrary to the charter because they had to continue in their duties till the new PM and Cabinet replaced them.

The proposal for the Senate to select a neutral PM was also unconstitutional because the PM must come from a direct election and the Lower House was legally tasked with the duty - not the Upper House.

He said part of the Senate was not directly elected but appointed.

Noppadon said the proposal to adopt the PDRC's reform plan was not fair since the public would be blocked from taking part in the process.

Abhisit's proposal was one-sided because it did not include the government's reform demands. The idea for an interim government to work for five to six months had no legal basis to support it.

"There is not any guarantee that the interim government will not stay longer than that. We cannot let the country be managed under such uncertainty."

He suggested a constitutional solution to the impasse would be for every party to take part in the poll, every party propose a reform plan before the poll and a public referendum on reform to be held parallel with the poll.

After the election, a law would be passed to establish a reform council. The new government would serve six to 12 months before the House was dissolved and a snap election called.

Abhisit yesterday defended his plan, saying it did not contravene the Constitution or democratic framework.

If the plan was successfully implemented, there would be no violence, no coup and the monarchy and the courts would not be drawn into the political conflict, he said in a statement in which he asked for help for all stakeholders in the dispute.

"[The plan will only work] if Prime Minister Yingluck steps aside from power for only five or six months and the PDRC accepts other ways to reform," he said.






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