Abhisit wants NRC to reject draft charter

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva has called for the National Reform Council to vote down the draft constitution on Sept 6, saying the proposed establishment of an all-powerful “crisis committee” is unacceptable.

Mr Abhisit, in a press interview on Tuesday, was referring to the proposed national committee on reform and reconciliation — comprising the army, navy, air force and police chiefs — which would have special powers to intervene in a political crisis by seizing both executive and legislative powers from the government and parliament.

A provisional clause in the draft charter, which has been handed over to the NRC, allows for members of the “crisis committee” to vote to intervene in a crisis if they believe the government cannot function and national administration is seriously compromised. A two-thirds vote in favour is needed for the intervention to take place.

The former prime minister said he did not want this draft charter to be approved by the NRC, not because he wanted Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to stay on in power but so that it could be revised before being put to a public referendum.

He said the “crisis committee” would lead to many problems and conflicts, as it would be like “a state within a state”.

The best way out was for the NRC to vote to reject the draft constitution to make way for the setting up of a 21-member committee to revise it while retaining its objective of achieving reforms, maintaining peace and order and ensuring a smooth transition of power, Mr Abhisit said.

He believed the revision would take only two or three months, after which a referendum could be held.