By KASAMAKORN CHANWANPEN
Those in the National Reform Council (NRC) opposed to passing the charter draft have succeeded, with the draft voted down yesterday.
The “no” camp won 135 votes to 105. There were seven abstentions.
Among the ‘no’ voters were provincial representatives, academics, law experts, politicians and security officers.
Of those who voted “no”, about 60 were province-based reformers, 40 were from the political, justice academic and law-making spheres, and 30 were police and military officers.
The result was announced less than an hour after the process started.
At least 124 “yes” votes were needed for the draft to pass. The “yes” camp included social science and economics scholars, and charter drafters.
Of the 21 Constitution Drafting Committee members who were also NRC members, Lt-General Navin Damrigan abstained and the rest voted “yes”.
The other members who abstained were Thienchay Kiranandana, the NRC’s chairman, his vice chairwoman Tassana Boontong, Pol General Ekachai Srivilas, and Chirmsak Pintong, a renowned academic.
Speculation swirled that the rejection of the draft was the result of lobbying.
A source told The Nation that the government had conducted a survey and found that the public might reject the charter because they did not understand it.
The source said the government preferred to see this draft charter rejected by the NRC than send it to a referendum and risk losing face.
But Paiboon Nititawan, a CDC member who had proposed a two-year reform cycle be conducted before a general election was held, revealed that he had talked to several NRC members and they had said they were happy with the draft.
They decided to reject it mainly because of the consequences it could have on the economy, Paiboon said.
He believed the NRC killed the draft because it wanted to buy more time for the economy to recover.
If it accepted the charter, controversy could arise and the concerned parties would not have time to deal with the economic problems facing the country, he said.
An NRC member representing the public sector, Hannarong Yaowalers, said the public could feel betrayed by the powers that be as the charter would have empowered the people.
He said the public might not have confidence in the new drafters, who would be appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order.
NRC secretary whip Alongkorn Ponlaboot announced that the NRC was now dissolved.
The new charter-drafting panel consisting of 21 members will be appointed within 30 days and it
will have 180 days to complete the draft.