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NCPO plans to lift martial law

Final decision, however may be left to new govt

THE NATIONAL Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) chief has a plan to lift the martial law soon, Lt-General Kampanart Ruddit, director of the Reconciliation for Reform Centre said yesterday.

He added that the NCPO had discussed the areas where martial law should be lifted, though it might wait until a new government is formed and let it decide whether to partially or completely lift the law.

At 3pm today, His Royal Highness Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn will preside over a ceremony at the Ananta Samakhom Throne Hall to convene the first session of the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), and the assembly will hold its first meeting at 9.30am tomorrow.

The NLA is authorised to nominate the prime minister.

Worawit Sukboon, deputy secretary-general of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), said the commission will meet today to discuss how the NLA members should file their financial statements.

Tomorrow, he and other NACC officials will go to the NLA to explain how its members can declare their assets to the NACC.

He said he was not aware if members of the soon-to-be set up National Reform Council (NRC) will also need to declare their assets once the council has been set up, because this is the first time that Thailand will have a body like this.

The NCPO on Tuesday approved 14 drafts to be tabled by the NLA, including those for land transport and intellectual property rights that will be stricter than in the past, NCPO spokeswoman Pathamaporn Rattanadilok na Phuket said.

"The NCPO has approved 38 bills that are pending passage by the NLA," she said.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand will nominate two representatives to the NRC, chairman Pramon Suthivong said yesterday, while the Lawyers Council of Thailand will also push for its members to join the reform council, president Dej-Udom Krairit said.

Puchong Nutrawong, secretary-general of the Election Commission (EC), said after the council's meeting to review the qualification of NRC candidates, at least 2,000 candidates will possibly be nominated to oversee the 11 areas of national reform.

A selection committee chaired by the governor in each province would select representatives from the province.

The EC is expected to announce the opening of nominations for the NRC next Thursday, he said.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, the NCPO will hold an event to promote national reform, which will introduce the NRC and explain its composition and how it works.

The EC will verify the candidates' qualifications and send all names to the screening committee. If any candidate lacks qualifications, the screening committee would be alerted to that.

The EC will meet again today to finalise preparations.

While the committee has a time limit, all candidates must guarantee their qualifications in writing, so if there is something wrong they will have to take responsibility.

The EC and the Interior Ministry are among the legal sectors that have shown interest in nominating NRC members. The Pheu Thai, Democrat and Rak Thailand parties have said they would not take part in the NRC.

The provisional charter states that the NRC would consist of no more than 250 members hand-picked by the NCPO from the nominations made by screening committees.

Representatives from each of the country's 77 provinces will also sit on the reform council.

There will be 11 groups of committees short-listing individuals nominated by legal entities for 11 reform areas, besides the provincial selection committees.The guidelines for the consideration include urgent issues for making laws related to the government administration to be up-to-date and better suited to the work of government agencies. The other group is the laws that would make people happy socially," she said.




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