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Capitalist politicians in firing line as NRC reform panel submits its report

Jun 15. 2015
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By PIYAPORN WONGRUANG
THE NATION

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THE NATIONAL Reform Council's political reform affairs committee yesterday reported its comprehensive findings on the political problems facing the country and the possible solutions to the NRC.
Some of the findings were taken into consideration for the ongoing constitutional drafting process, and are expected to help guide the formation of organic laws.
The committee conducted the study following the NRC’s resolution to formulate the country’s vision framework and reform agendas in January.
The issue concerning a political parties system and access to power was one of 36 reform agenda items.
The committee set five key study areas – a political parties system and capitalism domination reform; “good” politician selection reform; political participation and learning reform; independent agency structural reform; and civil assembly formation reform.
Amorn Vanichwiwat, chair of the NRC subcommittee on political reform, reported to the meeting that the political parties were still extensively dominated by capitalists and as such they did not truly belong to the people. 
The subcommittee suggested promoting political parties to be people’s choices so they represented the public. 
One possible approach in relation to this concerned primary voting in order to allow political party members to pick their representatives.
The subcommittee also suggested political party dissolution be maintained for any acts deemed to affect national security or the monarchy.
Its proposal concerning primary voting was backed up by the findings of the subcommittee concerning the selection of good politicians. The subcommittee also suggested a mixed-proportional electoral system and an increase in the number of House representatives to better represent the people.
Prasarn Marukpitak, chair of the subcommittee on political participation and learning, said the political problems largely stemmed from patronage and a lack of access to information. His subcommittee suggested some key laws concerning access to information and political participation and the promulgation of learning to help solve these problems.
The major reform of key independent agencies was also proposed. They are the Election Commission, the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the Anti-Money Laundering Office, the National Human Rights Commission, and the National Ombudsman.
Questions were raised about their performance and efficiency, and the subcommittee suggested they improve performance with major personnel and structure reform.
General Lertrat Ratanavanich, the Constitution Drafting Committee spokesman, praised the political reform affairs committee’s study, saying it clearly showed the political weaknesses, especially the point that parties were still not truly democratic.
He said he would take some recommendations to the CDC for consideration.
Sombat Thamrongthanyawong, chairman of that committee, told The Nation that the committee would take on board all the recommendations made by NRC members to improve its study, and would further study the formation of complimentary laws to the constitution.
He said it would table the study for the NRC’s consideration within two months before the constitutional drafting process had finished.
“I just hope that our study can show the way to go for our country’s constitution and other laws,” Sombat said.

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