DEPUTY Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan denied yesterday that the junta-appointed National Reform Council had been ordered to reject the draft charter so that the drafting process starts anew and the government gains more time in power.
The denial came as some NRC members began making the accusation and others claimed some NRC members were primarily interested in making themselves famous.
Prawit said NRC members were well-known and honourable people who could not be ordered around. He said the government led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha was sincere and the time frame on how much longer it would stay on would be in line with the provisional charter.
Coup rumours denied
Prawit denied the situation was getting chaotic and that eventually the National Council for Peace and Order would stage another coup to earn a clean slate, as happened during the time of Field Marshal Sarit Thanarat.
Meanwhile, NRC member Wanchai Sornsiri believes an amendment of the provisional charter to abolish the NRC is aimed at getting the reformers to reject the draft charter so the drafting process will start again.
Wanchai also believes the powers that be were not satisfied with the NRC’s performance and the dissolution of the NRC whether it endorses or rejects the draft charter would allow members to make a more independent vote.
He said a number of NRC members were unhappy with a few articles in the draft charter and were probably going to call for it to be rejected. The likelihood of the draft charter being rejected by the NRC is high, he said, because its calls for the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) to amend contentious points were mostly ignored. But he said it was impossible for the CDC to amend all the points, which amounted to around 100 provisions.
Wanchai also said that if the draft charter went to a national referendum there would be a lot of political moves and debate, and the political situation, which is not adequately calm, would be stirred up again. If the draft charter happened to be approved in a referendum, it would be countdown time for the Prayut administration.
In a related development, former deputy prime minister Chaturon Chaisang posted on Facebook yesterday an amendment of the provisional charter to allow for an open-ended road map for the military junta to stay on in power.
“The road map is not static and it can be altered indefinitely,” wrote Chaturon. “Given the situation, we can’t expect much from the referendum.”
Meanwhile, NRC member Amorn Vanichwiwat said he also believed that the National Reform Council would reject the draft charter.
Amorn said some NRC members merely wanted to become famous and dramatise things via appearances on television while others spoke in parliament as if they were politicians representing constituencies.
He said many NRC members were elderly – in their 60s – despite the regulation allowing NRC members to be as young as 35, and their health problems might also be affecting the council’s performance.