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Amendment must avoid deadlock, says drafter

Aug 18. 2016
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THE DEPUTY chief drafter of the new constitution yesterday called for an amendment to the charter draft to be written carefully to avoid a possible political deadlock.
Suphot Khaimuk, deputy chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), said an impasse could happen if the political parties that win most MP seats at the next general election did not submit their lists for prime ministerial candidates or the candidates withdrew before the House voted to elect the prime minister.
“The CDC has to consider this carefully to prevent political problems that may happen in the future. 
“The most suitable words must be used,” he said.
In response to concerns the charter amendment will pave the way for Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to become the government head again after the next election, Suphot said: “Whatever provisions are written, he could return to power. It will depend on the NCPO [National Council for Peace and Order] leader’s decision. 
“But there are also other factors involved, such as his charisma and the acceptance [of him] by the public,” he said.
General Prayut also heads the NCPO.
Formerly a Constitutional Court judge, Suphot also said that the constitution drafters would hear from representatives of the National Legislative Assembly today in a meeting about amending the draft.
Additional question
The meeting will discuss the intent of the additional question suggested by the NLA at the August 7 referendum on the charter. 
The question, which the public approved along with the draft constitution, relates to appointed senators joining MPs in choosing the prime minister.
The amendment to the original draft written by the CDC is required in order to accommodate most voters approving of appointed senators being involved in that selection process.
CDC members yesterday disagreed with an interpretation that senators should also have the right to nominate the prime minister.
Thienchai Nanakorn, one of the charter drafters, believes that the interpretation is broader than the additional question. Suphot said that the NLA had never stated that senators had the right to nominate the prime minister.

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