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No changes to revised draft charter after hitch: Meechai

Aug 31. 2016
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CHARTER DRAFTERS did not make any change to the revised version earlier pulled from the Constitutional Court due to technical errors, chief author Meechai Ruchupan said yesterday.
Meechai said the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC) got down to work yesterday on some organic laws after resubmitting amendment of the charter’s Article 272 to the Constitutional Court, having corrected errors involving the court’s document submission procedures and requirements.
He reaffirmed that the drafters had not made any change to the amendment that deviated from what they had told the public.
The CDC held a press briefing on Monday regarding interpretation of the controversial additional question approved in the referendum regarding the appointment of a prime minister, which reads: “The joint Parliament shall consider approving the appropriate person to be appointed as prime minister”. 
They agreed that the extra question only allowed appointed senators to be involved in the final voting process for a future prime minister for the first five years, regardless of the contradictory explanation by the National Legislative Assembly.
The documents resubmitted to the court also included the changes to the preamble of the charter and an explanation of the amendment, CDC spokesman Udom Rathamarit said. 
The CDC submitted the amendment on Monday, but pulled it back the following morning due to a minor procedural issue amid speculation that some undisclosed changes would be made behind closed doors. 
A source familiar with the CDC said that the panel must submit the documents in the form of a request for the court to review them, according to court regulations. 
The court’s public relations authority said the judges would consider the amendment and would announce their decision within the set timeframe. 
The court, however, found that the CDC had not issued an authorisation letter to accompany the document. Hence, it called on the CDC to produce the authorisation letter and submit it to court by Monday. 
After completion of the constitution draft, the CDC will have to work on another 10 organic laws involving elections, political parties, the Parliament and the independent agencies. 
According to Meechai, only the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had submitted its bill. NHRC representatives met with the drafters yesterday to explain how the bills had been written, including the rationale behind the clauses. 
The constitution draft gives the CDC 240 days to finish the 10 laws, but authorities promised to finish at least four of them concerning an election within four months to clear the way for the holding of a general election next year.

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