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Premier Prayut 'not thinking' about politicians joining new reform panel

Jun 18. 2015
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By THE NATION

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PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha said yesterday that he has not considered inviting politicians to join a new reform panel.
He also dismissed media reports quoting a source from the Centre for Reconciliation and Reform (CRR) saying that it planned to invite politicians to become members of the new panel. 
“Do not believe the source. I am the one who will establish the reform panel, so ask me. But at this stage, I have not thought about it,’’ Prayut said.
Prayut said CRR had invited some politicians from the two major camps for talks because he wanted to know what politicians think of the country’s situation and how they can help bring about peace and order. He also wanted to know if they are ready for a general election as planned in the government’s road map.
He said the media should ask politicians about what they will do to bring about reform. “If they cannot answer your questions, then it means they cannot achieve it. I have allowed them to speak about any and all issues. I do not stop or block them,” he said. 
After a meeting with the CRR, ex-education minister Chaturon Chaisang said the agency had asked him about four issues: administration and economic solutions; charter drafting and reform; solutions to conflicts; and reconciliation.
He said he told them that a public referendum had to be conducted and asked for a concrete solution if the charter draft did not pass the plebiscite. 
“If this charter draft passes the plebiscite and goes into effect, it will create more conflicts because it is undemocratic and there will be no stability. The plebiscite will just end up being a waste of money,” he said.
He added that an undemocratic constitution will not bring about sustainable peace and the military will take over the control of the country again. He said the Prayut government’s national reform efforts did not dig deep enough into what is causing the national divide. “In order to achieve sustainable peace, the government must accept different opinions,’’ he said.
Chaturon also denied that he had been invited to join a new reform panel, but refused to say whether he would join if invited. 
Meanwhile, red-shirt leader Nuttawut Saikuar yesterday called on Prayut to urgently ease the economic slump and step down once the road map is completed. 
Nuttawut was speaking after a meeting with the Centre for Reconciliation and Reform. He said he had asked the centre to pass on his message to the premier that the government must take prompt action to tackle the economic slowdown. He also dismissed the government’s report that the economy was picking up.
“Low-income people are facing financial difficulties. Their income has dropped, but their expenses have remained the same. This situation is more worrisome than it was during the 1997 crisis,” he said. 
He also urged Prayut to stay in power only until his “road map to democracy” has been completed. 
Nuttawut also slammed some members of the National Reform Council, who have said that they would vote down the draft charter in order to let the Prayut government stay in power longer. “They are not sincere and are insulting the citizens,” he said.
 adding that the drafters should also adjust the charter so it is in line with democratic principles and hold a plebiscite before calling a general election.

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