CDC confident political parties will offer opinions

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BANGKOK, Nov 14 — The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) is confident that political parties will offer their opinions on the content of the new charter, CDC spokesman Gen Lertrat Ratanavanich said today.

His remarks were made after former deputy prime minister and key Pheu Thai Party member Plodprasop Suraswadi said the party would not offer its opinions to the CDC on the new Constitution.

The Pheu Thai Party formed the coalition government which was ousted in the May 22 bloodless coup.

But Gen Lertrat said he is optimistic that every political party, including Pheu Thai, would offer ideas on drafting of the new constitution because this is an important opportunity and everybody is hoping to have a democratic constitution.

Gen Lertrat said it may take time for the Pheu Thai Party to offer its ideas on the new Constitution as the party may have only just received an invitation to contribute.

On some political parties wishing the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to ease its ban on gatherings, Gen Lertrat advised that they ask the NCPO. He believes they should receive a quick response because brainstorming on drafting the new Constitution should not pose a big problem.

Touching on a proposal to conduct a public referendum on the new charter, he said the NCPO is empowered to give the green light and if a public referendum must be undertaken, the current interim Constitution would have to be amended and the new Constitution would have to be completed before September 4 next year in order to allow the general public to study it at least 90 days its coming into effect.

Meanwhile, Pol Lt-Gen Wirote Pao-in, caretaker leader of the Pheu Thai Party, said the CDC should seek approval from NCPO asking it to lift the ban and allow political parties to meet and discuss the new constitution.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam’s comment that party members should consult and send a representative to propose their ideas is not practical. Each party has strict regulations that ideas on any subject must be approved by all members, not just by the leader or secretary-general, Lt Gen Wirote said.

Most importantly, if the NCPO has not lifted its ban on political gatherings, a complaint may be lodged with the Election Commission to dissolve the Pheu Thai Party, he  added.