By WASAMON AUDJARINT
“They have sought ways to seek mutual agreement so they must be settled eventually,” Prayut said. “I insist that they must not be turned down without sound reasons.”
His remarks referred to the tri-party law review committee set up following differences among law-making bodies after the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) has passed the law.
There is speculation that the NLA committee might dump the drafts to further delay the election.
That speculation has angered pro-democracy activists, who have held a series of assemblies to demand that the junta government holds the election this year. The assemblies, each lasting for a few hours, ended in 39 activists, students and journalists, being prosecuted for allegedly breaking the junta’s order, the public assembly bill, and being accused of sedition.
Prayut also said he was concerned about student activists and the way teachers educate children nowadays.
He said by calling for changes irrespective of the cost to the country, the protesters are overlooking the potential losses to Thailand while a peaceful resolution still exists.
The premier said concerned authorities would look into the legal aspects of the rallies and action would be taken according to the law.
He insisted that the election must happen eventually but that the public should also have “a thorough understanding” of the laws and the Constitution.
“Several of us want to go to the poll to cast our votes, while others said they won’t and wish the junta to stay in power,” said the PM.
“However, I said that neither of these is acceptable. The fact is we must go to the poll and cast our votes, every one of us, and the choices would be yours, even casting a “no” vote,” he said.
However, Prayut said he was concerned about a recent poll which indicated that more than 30 per cent of people still did not understand the charter.
“Isn’t this scary?” he said. “The media should help me to raise public knowledge of these laws, not make people feel that they are not out of reach.”
Jate Siratharanont, the NLA’s whip spokesperson, meanwhile, has written on Facebook that the road map to the election will become clearer early next month.
“After March 8, the election road map will become clearer when all four organic laws essential for the poll are completely passed by the Assembly. Then [everyone] will wait for the royal endorsement, the promulgation and the enforcement, and the election will come within 150 days,” Jate said.
Last week, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, said the government would announce the election date in June, presumably after all the organic laws were promulgated. The election would not be delayed, Wissanu said.