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Royal endorsement for charter ‘to be sought by Nov 9’

Royal endorsement for charter ‘to be sought by Nov 9’

THURSDAY, October 27, 2016
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The government will seek royal endorsement of the new charter before November 9 and the new King will sign the charter, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam insisted yesterday.

The amendment of the preamble, however, would be postponed until after the royal title proclamation.
Wissanu said that though the Constitutional Court had decided that an amendment was viable, the government could not possibly fill out the ellipsis because the exact time of the endorsement, as well as the official royal name of King Rama X, were still unknown.
His clarification came in response to the confusion over whether the preamble of the constitution should be amended following the recent passing of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej.
Prior to the death of King Rama IX, the constitution draft’s preamble referred to the late King as the authority to endorse the charter. Therefore, an amendment should be made to replace the reference with the new King’s name.
Wissanu explained that the name choice of the King could differ. When the King Rama VIII accessed the throne, he used the same name Ananda Mahidol to follow the royal title ‘His Majesty the King’. Meanwhile, the King Rama VII took a slight different name from when he was the crown prince.
The deputy PM said that as the government did not know yet the official name of the King Rama X, it must seek the royal endorsement without an amendment or it would not be able to meet the deadline set by the interim charter.
Meanwhile, the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) is ready to abide by the Constitutional Court’s order that it amend the new charter’s preamble in accordance with the passing of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, the commission’s chairman said yesterday. 
The task could be completed within a day after the CDC receives an official order from the government, Meechai Ruchupan said yesterday.
The chief drafter said the CDC would amend the sections that were inconsistent after the passing of the late King. His Majesty’s name will be replaced with a blank space for the Secretariat of the Cabinet to fill in.
The passages that require amendments include the title of the new King and the title of the authority that will sign the endorsement, he said.
“This approach to amending the charter corresponds with the Constitutional Court’s decision and every legal amendment follows that,” Meechai said. 
“It can be seen that ellipses are used in several spots such as the royal emblem, date and year. These can be left to be filled out later, because the CDC cannot wait for the settlement as we are subject to a timeframe set by the interim charter,” he said.
The development came after the Constitutional Court voted unanimously on Wednesday that the charter’s preamble could be amended following the King’s passing. 
The court also specified that the CDC should write the amendment, because the commission had written the charter. 
In the meantime, the CDC is working on four organic laws necessary for the next general election next year.
Chartchai Na Chiangmai, chairman of CDC’s committee on public relations and opinion polls, said that the National Office of Statistics would, from next Tuesday to Sunday, survey public opinion of those laws.
The questions to be asked in the survey include those about the mechanism to make political parties truly belong to the people, matters concerning the Senate, and the roles of the Election Commission, he said.
The statistics office would submit the poll results to the CDC before November 15 to support the writing of the organic laws, Chartchai said.
The CDC had also sent invitation letters to political parties to attend a seminar where the CDC will gather their opinion for writing the laws, he added.