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Unity govt 'a plot to extend NCPO's stay'

Unity govt 'a plot to extend NCPO's stay'

MONDAY, July 13, 2015
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A RED-SHIRT leader yesterday lambasted the idea of forming a unity government, saying it was an attempt to prolong the junta's time in power.

Weng Tojirakarn, a politician from the Pheu Thai Party and a leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), yesterday questioned the merits of forming a national unity government at a time when the political road map was progressing towards the next general election next year.
He said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, who also heads the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), had insisted he would not seek a longer period in office. However, there was no guarantee other NCPO leaders would not replace Prayut as the government leader.
“They are testing the waters for a national unity government, with a politically neutral person serving as prime minister. With the limited choices, it’s inevitable the PM candidates will be military leaders,” Weng said.
The red-shirt leader said he suspected there was a plot to prolong the NCPO’s time in power, judging from the proposal to hold a national referendum to ask voters if they want a unity government and reforms before the next election.
“I don’t think democracy lovers will allow the inheritance of power,” he said.
No comment from PM
The prime minister has refused to comment on the issue in order to avoid a conflict of interest, deputy government spokesman Maj-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said yesterday.
Recently, respected scholar Prawase Wasi suggested that a unity government should be formed to consist of politicians from rival camps and qualified people to lead Thailand towards sustainable reconciliation.
Meanwhile, the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has not considered this proposal and it has not been included in the draft constitution, spokesman Lertrat Ratanawanit said yesterday.
Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, a member of the CDC, said yesterday he saw no reason why a unity government should be mentioned in the new constitution. 
He said that forming a government depended on the number of MPs to be obtained after a general election. He added that the constitution drafters had not discussed the matter.
In a related development, Alongkorn Ponlaboot, a member of the National Reform Council, has rejected news reports that some NRC members had suggested the formation of a unity government.
“I can say that not a single member of the NRC has ever suggested a unity government be formed,” he said.