Prime Minister affirms to stick by the roadmap to restore democracy

TF Jun 15_3Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha threw cold water on those calling for him to extend his time in office by another two years to achieve reforms, saying he would stick by the roadmap to restore democracy next year.

The Prime Minister instructed all ministries to complete their important work by next April to pave the way for national elections later that year. A referendum on the draft constitution has been proposed for early January, with elections for a new national government following in August or September.

“I didn’t seize power just to perpetuate [my] power” Prime Minister Prayut said.

Earlier in the week, a Buddhist monk named Phra Issara, who had taken part in anti-government protests during the previous administration, submitted a petition with 50,000 signatures to the Prime Minister’s office asking him to stay on for two additional years in order to ensure that reforms are carried out and to maintain stability in the country.  He also submitted copies to the National Reform Council and the National Legislative Assembly.

Several members of the National Reform Council, an appointed body developing reforms in 11 areas of society, had first voiced the idea that the prime minister should stay on. Their concern, they said, was that an elected government that would follow the current administration would not follow through on implementing the reforms started by the current administration.

Paiboon Nititawan, a National Reform Council member who proposed the idea of extending the prime minister’s term, said that he would suggest that the Constitution Drafting Committee consider whether it should add more provisions in regard to the referendum and the date of a general election.

However, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwan disagreed with Paiboon’s proposal, saying the government would proceed with reform in line with the “road map” and the interim charter. “I don’t know how the government could continue, as the constitution does not say anything about that,” he said.

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