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Reform scene's top new player: the Reform Movement Council

Jun 17. 2015
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THE CABINET and the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) recently decided to seek an amendment to the post-coup provisional charter, requiring that the National Reform Council (NRC) be dissolved as soon as it completes its work of deliberating the
The NRC would be replaced by the Reform Movement Council, which will consist of incumbent NRC members as well as non-members.
This was obviously a move by the powers-that-be to get rid of some “wayward” NRC members who disagreed with them on many matters. Those members seemed to be acting like politicians, causing uneasiness to the leadership on many occasions.
Certainly, NRC members who want to be appointed to the new council will have to behave in a way desirable to the powers-that-be. And some of them are doing just that, apparently in the hope of getting reappointed.
Some NRC members publicly criticised their colleagues, saying that many fellow members did not deserve to be reappointed due to their weaknesses, such as being too old, being too busy with their bureaucratic work or behaving like politicians. 
The Reform Movement Council will have 200 members, compared to 220 for the NRC. Part of its membership comes from the NRC and others are from non-members, including former executives of political parties once banned from politics by the courts for electoral fraud, according to Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam.
The decision to set up the Reform Movement Council has caused some NRC members to question whether the draft constitution is good enough. They are attempting to vote against the draft, arguing that the work of chief drafter Bowornsak Uwanno and his team still has a lot of faults.
Some of those NRC members may actually see real flaws in the draft constitution and they now can vote freely on whether or not to approve the draft.
With the new council to be set up, they do not have to worry about the clause in the interim charter that both the NRC and the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) have to be dissolved and the new drafting process started anew if the NRC votes down the draft.
However, some NRC members seem to be unhappy with the move by those in power. This may have prompted them to attack the draft constitution heavily.
And some other NRC members are trying to keep the government in power for longer. They appear to be convinced that if they vote down the draft, the government will stay on, without having to wait for the result of a national referendum. They seem to believe that if they can please their leaders, they will be reappointed to serve under this government.
The latest move by the powers-that-be also affected the CDC. The drafters earlier seemed to be confident that their draft would easily sail through the NRC. So they held firm against any calls for revision. But now, with no clear guarantee the draft will be approved by the NRC, the CDC members have softened their stance to show their readiness to revise the original draft.
With its latest move, the government seems to have managed to influence both the NRC and the CDC. For them, it was like “killing two birds with one stone.” They’ve got the upper hand now.

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