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Thailand draft constitution 2015

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  • #16
    Civil society organization says constitution must be determined by the people not imposed by junta also stated that senators and parliamentary members must be elected by the people to answer public needs and that the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) must guarantee and improve all dimensions of human rights, such as labour rights, community rights, political rights, and rights to public health.

    In addition, the civil society organisation pointed out that instead of establishing centralised reform committees based on different dimensions of reform, the government should establish reform committees based on provincial areas to allow more public participation in the reform agenda.

    The reform organisation also added that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should not be merged with the Office of the Ombudsman


    • #17
      Draft gives executive arm 'too much power'
      Aekarach Sattaburuth

      The draft charter is still fraught with risks, as it gives the executive branch a dominant role, particularly the power to approve key financial legislation, the chairman of the National Reform Council's (NRC) political reform committee says.

      The NRC yesterday deliberated the draft charter for a second day. The debate focused on charter provisions dealing with politicians and political institutions.

      Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, head of the NRC's political reform panel, told the council the draft charter does not establish a balance of power between the executive and legislative branches.

      He cited Section 147 of the draft charter which stipulates that any financial legislative bill must be endorsed by the prime minister first.

      Mr Sombat said this means the executive branch initiates such bills, not the legislative branch, which will act only as a rubber-stamp for the financial bills.

      He also highlighted Section 182 of the draft which allows the government to propose important legislative bills for the opposition to debate in parliament sessions.

      The opposition must table a censure motion to debate the bills within 48 hours or the bill will be deemed as having received endorsement from the House of Representatives.

      And if the debate is held and the government wins the censure vote on the bill, it will also be deemed as endorsed by the House.

      Mr Sombat said there could be problems if future governments propose an amnesty bill since this would likely spark fresh rounds of political conflict.

      The controversial amnesty bill which led to the downfall of the previous Yingluck Shinawatra government is a case in point.

      Mr Sombat also expressed concern about the adoption of the mixed member proportional representation (MMP) system, which would lead to weak and unstable coalition governments.

      The constitution drafters favour a coalition government comprising small parties.

      They argue that under the MMP system, no single political party will be able to obtain an absolute majority to form a government. This will prevent a so-called dictatorship of the majority in parliament.

      But Mr Sombat said that coalition governments were around long before the previous 1997 constitution and caused much political chaos that hindered national development.

      He said new coalition governments expected to be formed under the MMP system could repeat past mistakes, adding that various party leaders in the coalition governments are unlikely to present uniform policies.

      Mr Sombat also urged the charter drafters to reconsider a provision allowing the appointment of a non-MP prime minister, who will be out of touch with the public.

      This charter provision contradicts the draft charter, which aims to boost citizens' roles in politics, he said.

      Seree Suwanphanont, head of the NRC's panel on legal and justice reform, told the meeting that the draft gives too many details on the structures and powers of new bodies proposed under the new charter, such as the national ethics assembly.


      • #18
        CDC: Key principles won't be changed
        Aekarach Sattaburuth

        Charter writers will not change the key principles of the constitution draft, including the German-style mixed-member proportional (MMP) election system and the possibility of a non-MP prime minister.

        The National Reform Council (NRC) has been debating the draft since Monday. Among the much criticised sections are those involving the new MMP election system, which some NRC members view would result in a weak government that cannot push policies and govern effectively.

        Another controversial issue is the sources of senators. Some NRC members are afraid a mix of appointed and elected members could rekindle political conflicts and subsequently a coup.

        Under Section 121, the senate comprises not more than 200 members. Voters in each of the 77 provinces elect one from a list of up to 10 knowledgeable and ethical candidates screened by a provincial screening committee.

        Ten each are former permanent secretaries and defence permanent secretaries or commanders-in-chief elected by their peers. Up to 15 are from professional groups elected among themselves. Not more than 30 are representatives of the agriculture, labour, academic, community and local organisations elected among themselves.

        Another 58 are selected from qualified persons with morals in several fields.

        However, unlike the previous charters, the draft does not say who sit on these screening or nomination committees, saying only the detail will be in an organic law.

        Lertrat Rattanavanich, an adviser and spokesman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), said after the session on Wednesday the debate on these issues was not based on reasons and was therefore unfair.

        "We will not amend the principles, especially the MMP election method. We spent six months considering it thoroughly. The sources of the senate will also not be amended either but the proportion of each group might be revised a bit," he said, referring to the number of retired government officials and military officers in the upper house.

        "In any case, the charter can be amended in the future if the situation warrants it," said Gen Lertrat.

        But critics say future amendments are unlikely to be easy. Section 302 provides the constitution can be amended by two thirds of all existing votes in both houses. It also has to be endorsed by the Constitutional Court and requires a national referendum.

        "If there are many requests for amendment to the provincial screening committees, we may change it," he said.

        On a non-MP prime minister, the writers will revise the draft to the effect that a non-MP PM must have the support of more than half the votes within 15 days from the date his name is proposed. If he fails to get them, an MP PM must be proposed instead.

        "A non-MP PM can be proposed only when there is a crisis and he must get two thirds of the votes," the general said.

        "Also, the 60-member quota for the NRC in the Reform Driving Council may be adjusted to make it look better as some are concerned it can be viewed as an effort to perpetuate power.

        On the issue of political groups, which will be allowed to send MP candidates like political parties do, Gen Lertrat assured it would have follow the same rules as parties so the chance of groups like the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or the People's Democratic Reform Committee fielding candidates will not be easy.


        • #19
          Draft constitution neglects minority rights of millions15-year low

          In recent years, household debt in Thailand has spiraled. Bank of Thailand data shows that debt levels rose from 61 percent of the gross domestic product in 2009 to 85 percent in late 2014according to the Office of Agricultural Economics.



          • #20

            Mongkol Bangprapa

            The National Reform Council (NRC) yesterday slammed a charter provision which they say could raise the risk of political meddling with the Office of the Judicial Commission (OJC).

            The criticism came on the fifth day of debate on the 315-section draft charter before the NRC yesterday which focused on charter provisions on the rule of law, the courts and the judicial process.

            Several NRC members blasted Section 225 of the draft charter which deals with the OJC's composition.

            The section says one-third of OJC members must be outsiders who have not been judges.

            Seree Suwanphanont, head of the NRC panel on legal and justice reform, said the one-third requirement will potentially open the way for politicians to interfere with the OJC.

            He said this would open the door for outsiders to lobby for their appointments to the OJC.

            Mr Seree also suggested that more courts be set up to dispense justice to people, adding that establishing a court in each provincial district will be a real boon to local residents.

            He also said police should allow the public access to investigation reports as part of efforts to reach out more to citizens who feel officials in the justice system have treated them unfairly.

            NRC member Khemchai Chutiwong voiced his disagreement with the provision, saying Thai politicians tend to meddle with the judiciary for political gain.

            Banjerd Singkaneti, a member of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), explained that the charter provision aims to allow people from outside judicial circles to join the OJC so they can offer objective opinions that may be useful to the judicial process.

            He insisted the provision is not intended to invite political interference in the judiciary.

            Mr Banjerd also defended a charter provision requiring judges holding executive posts to leave these positions at age 65 but carry on serving in the judiciary as senior judges until they are 70.

            The current mandatory retirement age of judges is 70.

            Some critics have said that under the new charter this would mean the judges would be relegated to a lower status if they decide to stay on as senior judges after turning 65.

            But Mr Banjerd insisted that allowing the judges to continue to work as senior judges would not hurt their dignity, as has been alleged by some NRC members.

            He said the provision does not require senior judges to work only in lower courts.

            It is up to the OJC or the personnel management offices of each court to decide where the senior judges will be assigned, Mr Banjerd said.

            Most importantly, the experience of senior judges will be useful in guiding new judges and in supporting the dispensing of justice, he said.

            CDC chairman Bowornsak Uwanno yesterday accepted a letter containing recommendations from representatives from the judiciary.

            He said the CDC will consider proposals to improve the draft charter by the NRC after the debate ends tomorrow.

            Mr Bowornsak said that after the debate the CDC will have another 60 days to consider proposed changes to the draft from the public and from members of the other four key bodies, which make up the so-called "five rivers".


            Section 225.The Committee which is the personal administrative
            body of judge of any Court shall consist of the President of such Court as the
            chairperson, appropriate proportion of representatives who have been elected by
            judges in such Court and qualified persons who are not or have never been a judge
            or are holding a political position in the number that is not less than one third of the
            committee members who are judges as provided by law.

            Members who are the elected representatives under paragraph one
            and qualified persons may hold the position for only one term, except in the case of
            the judge in such Court that has ever been elected to hold the position, such person
            shall hold the position for another term.

            In the case where there are no qualified person under paragraph one
            or not fully appointed and the committee members in the number that is not less
            than six persons are of the opinion that a matter is urgent for approval, the
            committee may consider such matter.

            The person who is holding a position in a personnel administration
            body of one court shall not be a member of a personnel administration body or an
            administrative member of any other court at the same time.



            • #21
              King's Power Untouched in New Charter, Drafter Assures
              25 April 2015

              BANGKOK Section 157. If the King refuses His assent to a bill and either
              returns it to the National Assembly or does not return it within ninety days, the
              National Assembly shall reconsider such bill. If the National Assembly resolves to
              reaffirm the bill with the votes of not less than two‐thirds of the total number of the
              existing members of the both Houses, the Prime Minister shall present such bill to
              the King for signature once again. If the King does not sign or return the bill within
              thirty days, the Prime Minister shall cause the bill to be promulgated as an Act in the
              Government Gazette as if the King had signed it.


              • #22
                No major changes to Thai draft charter after debate
                26 April 2015

                Critics say draft so retrograde it may be better to remain under military rather than hold elections under its provisions.



                • #23
                  'Amend charter as we said and the NRC will back it'
                  April 27, 2015

                  THE National Reform Council would vote to pass the draft charter if the Constitution Drafting Committee alters the text in ways the NRC has suggested, NRC whip spokesman Wanchai Sornsiri said yesterday.

                  Wanchai declared the NRC's debate on the charter draft over the past seven days a success.

                  He said the body would submit its recommendations to amend the draft to CDC chairman Borwornsak Uwanno within 30 days.

                  He said the NRC would write with details of 36 reform agenda items and seven development plans stated in the charter draft.

                  Corrupt politicians would fear the new charter because there were effective mechanisms to eradicate, block and punish them, he said.

                  Wanchai was responding to criticism made by politicians that the charter draft aimed to maintain dictatorial power.

                  "Good politicians are not perturbed by the new charter."

                  He said the new charter was meant to promote and protect the interests of the public and not vested interest groups.

                  Meanwhile, political activist Suriyasai Katasila said there were five weaknesses in the charter draft that may cause it to be rejected by the NRC.

                  He said the point on decentralisation created division between two camps. While some NRC and CDC members want to increase local government power and to reduce central government power, others believe the current power structure should be maintained.

                  Under police reform, he said the issue about separating investigative power from inquiries and arrests had been met with strong resistance from the NRC.

                  Some reformers believed reform of the police force should be done by preventing political interference, but he said they had not thought about how to ensure good governance in the police.

                  Suriyasai said the NRC's panels on civic groups and permanent officials had not given importance to the stability and the strength of civic groups and civil politics, so they had not allowed public participation in the crafting of public policies.

                  The panels believed that the strength of the bureaucratic system was a key to solving the country's problems.

                  Suriyasai said many NRC members were trapped by the idea that only the direct election of representatives was democracy and the indirect election of representatives from diverse professions was not.

                  The activist said the NRC was split down the lines of conservatives and liberals.

                  "This reflects Thai society, which is also split between the two ideas. We must find a balance and learn to build a society of political pluralism," he said.



                  • #24
                    Political parties get draft charter, but can't debate it

                    The draft constitution went to political parties for review today, but with a catch: They are forbidden from meeting to debate the proposed charter.

                    The National Reform Council completed a week-long debate on the draft Sunday, before writers sent the text to the cabinet, the Naitonal Council for Peace and Order, and political parties for their feedback.

                    The charter, Thailand's 20th since 1932, was written by the 36-member Constitution Drafting Committee appointed by the NCPO.
                    But even though martial law has been lifted, political gatherings of five or more people still are prohibited, even if it means gathering to debate the future law of the land.

                    "If they really want views from political parties then the NCPO should lift or relax rules for parties to hold meetings," Chamni Sakdiset, deputy leader of the Democrat Party, told Reuters.

                    "The NCPO's order still is 'no meetings'," he said. "They would only get views from the party leader or party secretary-generals and not from all members of a party."

                    The Pheu Thai Party echoed its rival's call to lift the ban on meetings to discuss the charter.

                    "It would be a good thing to gather views from everyone in the party," Chavalit Vichayasut, acting deputy secretary-general of the party, said.

                    Gen Lertrat Rattanvanich, a spokesman for the CDC, said there was no need for parties to meet as they had been airing their opinions on the constitution in the media.

                    The drafters say they hope the charter would guard against "parliamentary dictatorship," but critics say it will weaken political parties and usher in a period of short-lived coalition governments.

                    The most controversial provisions allow for an unelected prime minister and establish a proportional representation electoral system.
                    The power of senators, two-thirds of whom would be appointed rather than elected, was another contentious issue, Alongkorn Polbutr, a member of the NRC, told Reuters on Monday.

                    The charter will be returned to drafters with feedback for possible revision on May 25. The text must be endorsed by HM the King by September if a general election promised for early 2016 is to take place.



                    • #25

                      fungus Posted: 1,275 | 27 Apr 2015 at 21.09

                      A flawed process brings on a flawed document. Once put in place the elected government will be unable to govern. Then the army will need to "protect the country" all over again. What a mess.


                      • #26
                        Abhisit blasts CDC for creating new parliamentary dictatorship


                        • #27
                          PM says he has no power to order a referendum to be held


                          • #28
                            Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has insisted that he has no power to stage a referendum to endorse the draft charter

                            the irony is just too thick to ignore


                            • #29
                              not irony, Mid

                              more like intellectual dishonesty, and amusing coming from him


                              • #30
                                fair call ,

                                strike irony and replace with hypocrisy .


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