CNS releases its list of 10 drafters for new constitution
The country has moved a step closer to a new constitution after the Council for National Security (CNS) named its 10 handpicked drafters to join 25 others selected by the Constitution Drafting Assembly.
The CNS list was released yesterday.
The 10 are Squadron Leader Prasong Soonsiri, a favourite to chair the Constitution Drafting Committee, judge advocate-general Attaporn Charoenpanit, Montri Sri-iamsa-ard, Atchaporn Charuchinda, Supot Kaimuk, legal expert Thongtong Chandrangsu, Detudom Krairit, Thanaboon Chiranuwat, Vichit Wichaisarn and Kanchanarat Leewirot.
Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) chairman Noranit Setabutr yesterday dismissed speculation that foreign countries, including the United States, were pressing for a speedy completion of a new charter.
"I have met ambassadors from the United States and Japan and can affirm no foreign country is trying to influence the charter-rewriting," he said.
Noranit said foreign representatives wanted to learn about the timetable and writing process but had not tried to impose their views on what a new constitution should be like.
With regard to the appointment of 35 charter-writers, he said the Council for National Security should name its 10 appointments this week. The other 25 were picked on Tuesday by the CDA.
According to Noranit's timetable, the charter-writers were expected to name their chairman and deputy chairman early next week. The CDA will convene on Monday to map out work guidelines for committees assisting in the drafting process.
By January 29, charter-writers should complete their guidelines, and the actual drafting of a new constitution will begin no later than January 31.
The CDA is expected to work with the Election Commission in sponsoring legislation for a referendum on the draft charter.
Democrat Party chief adviser and former prime minister Chuan Leekpai said the 180-day deadline should be long enough to complete drafting.
"Charter-writers should consider drawing up the drafting timetable in order to ensure their work progresses in an orderly manner, avoiding a last-minute rush," he said.
Thai Rak Thai Party spokesman Sita Divari said his party wanted a firm completion date.
"The completion date will quell suspicion of any attempt to hold onto power," he said.
If coup leaders honour their promise to hold a general election within one year, the charter draft should be ready by May 21 and allow time for a referendum and subsequent polls in September, he said.