PM sneers at politicians’ criticism of charter draft

national January 20, 2016 01:00


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PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday slammed politicians who disparaged the contents of the latest charter draft for fears that they would lose their political power.

“If they had volunteered to represent people and to administer the country, they should have been creative with how to fix problems rather than the conflicts that they took part in,” the general said of politician’s roles during his press briefing after the Cabinet meeting.
“They actually should have to volunteer to solve them and promise that there won’t be any more problems,” he continued, lamenting over how politicians have criticised his regime’s reforms and corruption issues.
Politicians are counted as mere fractions of the populace, he continued, and voices from a majority of people need to be listened to as well.
In response to ex-foreign minister Surapong Tovichakchaikul’s queries to the prime minister on Monday on how he would handle the situation if the charter is rejected again, Prayut only replied: “I have plans in my head.”
Prayut also stressed that he did not want to talk to any politicians in person and would rather do the talking in court. 
“But if they enter the judicial process, will they accept things [as they are]? Just don’t do the talking here [in public]. Why didn’t they do these things during their political terms?”
Prayut refused to comment on the latest draft. He just said: “I don’t want to say what is right and what is wrong.” 
The PM made a brief remark on the increased authority of the Constitutional Court in solving political conflicts, saying it would be essential to help tackle the country’s crises, as previous mechanisms were not able to accomplish the task.
Deputy PM General Prawit Wongsuwan insisted that political parties were still prohibited from gathering to discuss the new charter draft, as it was against the policy of the military’s ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Asked what he would do if the parties lead mass demonstrations regarding the matter, he replied: “We haven’t finished explaining things yet. Why do they bother coming out?”
Asked if there is worry if the two key political parties agreed to reject the draft, he said: “They can shake hands or whatever. The CDC will explain [this] later. But don’t be curious now. [The draft] is not finished yet. I’m not worried.”
Meanwhile, Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva said yesterday during a visit to the Northeast that concerned parties should not quickly jump to a conclusion that the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) would not listen to them and make changes to the charter draft.
However, he said the constitutional issues needed to be debated, and the NCPO should loosen its grip on political parties so that they can hold forums to discuss the issues.
He said several points in the current draft were vague and needed to be made more specific.
Meanwhile, Sompong Sakawee, a member of the National Reform Steering Assembly, yesterday raised four issues he believed would cause the public to reject the charter draft in a referendum.
The four issues are allowing a non-elected PM, having all senators from indirect elections, giving too much power to independent agencies and making it tough to amend the charter.
He said the overall picture of the charter was not good because the CDC had discriminated against politicians by assuming they enter politics to commit corruption. 

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