Date
24 September 2017
National Reform Council voted to reject the proposed constitution for Thailand. Photo: AFP
National Reform Council voted to reject the proposed constitution for Thailand. Photo: AFP

Thailand reform council rejects charter, delays elections

A military-backed panel tasked to oversee political reforms in Thailand has rejected a draft constitution, likely delaying the country’s return to democracy after the coup last year.

The National Reform Council opposed the draft charter in a televised vote on Sunday, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Wanchai Sornsiri, a member of the panel, said council members rejected the proposed charter because they don’t think it would pass a public referendum.

The council’s move means the government will have to form a new group to draft a fresh constitution, and this could push back elections until after mid-2017, the newspaper said, citing analysts.

The council was divided on whether to endorse a new committee that would exist parallel to an elected government and include military commanders as well as sitting and former prime ministers, the newspaper said.

The Committee for Reform Strategy and National Reconciliation would have the power to take control of the country from the elected government if two thirds of its members voted in favor of it.

The country’s main political parties are opposed to the proposal.

Abhisit Vejjajiva, a former prime minister, urged all sides to work together to build a more acceptable charter.

“I’m asking all sides to use this opportunity to improve a constitution that will bring reform, keep some good things and fix the weak points,” Abhisit said.

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RA/CG

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