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Rumours rattle reformers

Jul 12. 2015
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By The Nation

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REFORMERS and a Constitution drafter have denied rumours circulating over the weekend that a proposal was imminent for a "National Government" and an "Intermediary Premier."
NRC member Teerayut Lorlertrat said he was “puzzled” on hearing the suggestion.
Rumour had it that the National Reform Council (NRC) would propose to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and the National Legislative Assembly (NLA) that a provisional clause on the installation of a “National Government” – with an “Intermediary Premier” – be included in the new constitution.
However, the rumours left reformers bemused as well as some constitution drafters, who said they had no idea where the account had come from.
“As soon as I received the news from the media, I was confused and surprised. [I] don’t know where it came from or how it started,” Teerayut, said.
He added that the source of the report was unknown and he had no idea who in NRC would have proposed it.
“Plus, such an approach is being criticised. If it is [seriously put forward], people might object, saying it is inappropriate.”
Alongkorn Ponlaboot, former minister and NRC secretary, said he did not know the origin of the report, but confirmed that the NRC had never submitted such a proposal.
“NRC has never proposed anything about a national government. The eight constitutional amendments proposed to the Constitution Drafting Committee have never indicated anything about that either,” he said. However, Alongkorn revealed that some members had privately floated an idea about a “grand coalition” – a government formed from two parties receiving majority votes – in the belief the coalition would push the country forward.
“But, it was discussed [only by] a small group of people and it hasn’t been put to the public for deliberation,” he added.
A CDC member, Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, said no official letters had been submitted to the drafters concerning a national government or intermediary premier – and he viewed that it had nothing to do with the constitution. Yet, if there was any such proposal, the drafters would still have to deliberate on it, he said.
NRC spokesperson Wanchai Sornsiri did not confirm there had been such a proposal, but implied he personally liked the idea, although he did not believe political parties would cooperate with the junta.
“It would be great if we could actually do that. But I don’t believe that the pro-democracy [movement] would work hand in hand with the dictator,” he said.
General Udomdej Sitabutr, who had been mentioned in the rumour as a possible intermediary premier, said he had no clue about where it came from.
“It’s strange. And why does it have to be me? I don’t know where this came from. I don’t know much about the NRC. They can say what they like, but I don’t know,” said the general.
He reiterated that he had no intention of becoming the intermediary prime minister as had been reported in the news. He just did his best every day and never thought about becoming a PM, he said.
“The person who would become the prime minister would have to be appropriate. The PM [Prayut Chan-o-cha] is appropriate and is competent. He is fully equipped with charisma. He could handle anthing now. I’m just one of the cogs in the machine.”

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