The Nation


Political stalemate

TDRI supports pre-election and inclusive reform

Thailand Development Research Institute President Somkiat Tangkitvanich unveiled his six-points proposal, calling for the pre-election reform which involves all parties.

In his statement, he said the reform should take place before the election, given that any government has never been fully committed to reforms.

In the six-points proposal, he said that there was no progress from the reform council set up by the Yingluck government. Meanwhile, the Abhisit government also established two reform councils, but their suggestions have never been implemented.

"All this convinces the public that any government in power does not voluntarily support reforms," he said.

He also said that through the proposal for reforms, the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) may just want to create political vacuum, given that several proposals cannot be completed quickly and outside parties are shunned from taking part. The process to create "absolute democracy" contradicts the democratic doctrine. While both the government and PDRC see the need for reforms, they still differ if the reforms should take place before or after the election.

"In my opinion, both (the government and the PDRC which proposed reform) just want to win a political gain, rather to cooperate for a true reform," he said.

In his proposal, Somkiat supports the 7 private business organisations’ proposal for a reform body, which could be established with an executive decree to ensure that the reform process would start no matter what political parties are in power.

He said one third of the body’s members should be appointed by the government, one third by the Democrat Party and PDRC, and the rest by other social groups. They should focus attention on 4-5 urgent issues which lead to the current political instability, including the check and balance, anti-graft measures, populist policies and fiscal disciplines, as well as the judicial system. A certain timeframe must be in place and the body should closely monitor the progress. If the government shows any sign of reluctance, the body should be empowered to suggest the House dissolution. This would encourage the government to proceed with the reform.

"The reform would succeed if having three key elements: the process that involve all parties; the mechanism to ensure that the reform would be honoured by all; and the mechanism that the government in power will materialise the reform," he said.

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