Following the government's political forum on 'Where is our Thailand heading?' held today at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre (QSNCC), Mr Thongthong, who led the forum, said the country's reform should be managed in different dimensions, such as decentralisation, economic development to reduce social disparity and corruption, and having politicians serve as true representatives of the people.
The main question of the forum today was whether the general election on February 2 should come before political reform or that the reform should come before the election as proposed by the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by Suthep Thaugsuban.
Mr Thongthong concluded the forum that most participants supported a transparent general election, while adding he was ready to be coordinator for reform.
The permanent-secretary noted that the next election on Feb 2, as concerned by many parties whether it would be transparent, will be monitored with the help of the army, while a government after the election will be different than the previous ones, for national reform is to be involved.
Opinions from participants at the forum included that, among others, of Senator from Ratchaburi province Kecha Saksomboon who said the government should postpone the election for another year so reform could take place and create trust among all parties.
Anusorn Tamajai, Director of Pridi Banomyong Institute, meanwhile, suggested discussions with all parties so that protesters can work with Election Commission for the aimed general election and that all should ratify that they respect the majority opinion and therefore set up a centre for Thailand's reform which is independent from the government sector for further conclusion and law enforcement.
Assoc Prof Yuttaporn Issarachai, dean of Ramkhamhaeng University's Faculty of Political Science, supported a general election to be done in parallel with reform. However, he said past reforms did not succeed, for issues were too broad and no specific questions addressed. In the end, only a report was presented and no actual result was used or implemented, he commented.
The Government's political reform forum kicked off at 9:30am this morning and ended on the same day. Representatives from many organisations participated, including the private sector, academics, civil servants, politicians, and some protesters, except those from the PDRC and the Democrat Party.