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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 730

Coup leaders prepare draft constitution for King's assent

Bangkok, 27 September, (Asiantribune.com) : Coup leaders of Thailand have completed a draft of a constitution for Thailand's interim government to serve the country. The draft constitution is expected to be submitted for royal endorsement this weekend, Thailand's Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM) head Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin said Tuesday. Gen. Sonthi the interim government will comprise 36 cabinet members including the prime minister.Gen. Sonthi the interim government will comprise 36 cabinet members including the prime minister.

According to Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin, the draft containing 39 articles was to be viewed at its final stage Tuesday (September 26) by a group of academics and other civilians specially invited for this matter before being forwarded to Thai King either on Saturday (September 30) or Sunday (October 1). He said it woud be only an interim constitution once endorsed by the King of Thailand, who is likely to give assent once submitted to him.

However Gen. Sonthi did not elaborate on details of the so called temporary charter.

Overthrowing the former government by a bloodless coup last 18 September, the military leaders pledged to hand over power within two weeks to an interim civilian government which is expected to govern the country for about one year under the temporary constitution.

During the one-year rule, a new constitution will be drafted and a general election will be held after that to return sovereignty to the Thai people according to Thai National News Agency.

Gen. Sonthi said the council has not made a decision regarding the prime ministership of the interim government, but affirmed that the council would make its choice based on the democratic principle of a majority vote.

The coup leader said also that the council is keeping the public need in mind, so that past mistakes are not repeated.

As the interim government will run the country for a comparatively short period, the prime minister should be someone who can respond well to the problems the nation is currently facing.

The new premier must have outstanding qualifications including known honesty, a readiness to rebuild a deeply divided society in a spirit of reconciliation and unity, and most importantly, being acceptable to all sides.

Asked whether the council still believes that the prime minister must be a civilian, the coup leader said the word "civilian" has varied definitions, and that it can refer to a military officer who has retired from military service.

According to the TNA report, CDRM chief neither admitted nor denied a speculation that privy councilor Gen. Surayud Chulanond, former army commander, is one among strong candidates for the post of prime minister.

Asked whether in the meeting with Privy Council President Gen. Prem Tinsulanonda on Monday the chief privy counselor had contributed to selecting the prime minister, Gen. Sonthi said his meeting with the nation’s leading senior statesman had nothing to do with this matter.

Gen. Sonthi said the interim government will comprise 36 cabinet members including the prime minister. The prime minister will have full authority in choosing the cabinet members, with no involvement or interference from the CDRM.

He affirmed that the interim government will be free from military Council influence, and that the Council has no intention to dominate or control the new government.

None of the CDRM leaders has such intent, Gen. Sonthi said.

- Asian Tribune -

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