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Meechai agrees to rewrite controversial article

Feb 18. 2016
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MEECHAI Ruchupan, chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), said he would back the rewriting of the controversial Article 7 and add it to the chapter on General Provisions as before, but insisted that the Constitutional Court would be the fi
Several people had insisted that the clauses – stipulating that when no articles in the constitution are applicable to a case, it would be decided in accordance with constitutional practice – be included in the first chapter as always. Before attending CDC’s daily meeting yesterday, Meechai said the drafters would comply with this request, though he insisted that despite the change, the essence of the clause would remain the same. “We will adapt the clause from the 2007 Constitution. It stipulates who will have the final say when disputes arise and it will be the same in this draft,” he said, referring to the Constitutional Court. 
As for the National Legislative Assembly’s proposal it would be the one to judge what can be considered a “crisis” before the Constitutional Court convenes a meeting with police, military chiefs and other relevant organs, Meechai only said it would be very similar to the controversial crisis panel. 
“The public and you [the media] did not like that, did you?” he said, without elaborating. “We will write one [crisis-managing mechanism] if we have any new ideas. But if we can’t come up with anything, then we cannot possibly write it [in the charter].” 
However, he added that the drafters had tried to write a crisis-preventing mechanism, hoping that it would be sufficient and that they did not have to create any special bodies like the controversial National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Committee proposed by the previous CDC led by Borwornsak Uwanno.
Meechai also dismissed reports that all senators would be selected, that each constituency would have three MPs and that all parties would be dissolved, saying the CDC had not discussed these points yet. 
At present, drafters are processing comments from all sectors to perfect the charter draft, which is due to be completed by the end of March. 
Meanwhile, on his return from the US yesterday, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha dismissed the proposal to allow opponents and supporters of the charter draft to debate it, saying it was not necessary and it would have to go through a referendum any way.

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