New charter allows Thai junta chief to be interim PM

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 21:00

Bangkok: Thailand`s military junta on Wednesday unveiled details of a new provisional constitution that would give sweeping powers to its chief, allowing him to serve as an interim prime minister.

Thailand adopted an interim constitution yesterday, taking its first step toward the return of an electoral democracy after two months of military rule.

The provisional constitution is to help kick-start the second phase of the junta`s roadmap for national reforms and reconciliation.

It would also pave the way for the establishment of a national legislative assembly (NLA), an interim government and a national reform council and empower military junta chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha.

According to deputy army commander Gen Paiboon Kumchaya, junta leader and army commander-in-chief can serve as interim prime minister under the new rules.
"At this period, it`s like Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha is already working as the prime minister," Paiboon said.

Wissanu Krea-Ngam, legal advisor of the junta, said that even though the constitution allows Prayuth to become prime minister, it will be up to the National Legislative Assembly to choose the interim premier.

According to the junta`s road map, a general election would be held by October next year.

The military took power on May 22 in a bid to restore order in the country after months of political impasse following anti-government protests aimed at bringing down the elected government of former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

The new interim charter includes a special stipulation which allows for amendments giving the military junta special powers to deal with "uncontrollable situations".

This the first time that the junta chief was granted an audience with the King since the military seized power.
Ngam said the Constitutional Court, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Election Commission would continue to function until the new constitution is promulgated.

The provisional charter puts junta chief in charge of national security, allowing him to suppress any action both inside and outside the country that could be considered a threat to national peace, security, economy or the monarchy, Ngam said.

The 2014 provisional Constitution, comprised of 48 Articles. Article 48 of the provisional charter gives the National Council for Peace and Order amnesty for its coup.

The charter stipulates that the NLA`s 220 members would be selected by the NCPO and appointed by the king. The government would include a prime minister and a 35-member Cabinet.

First Published: Wednesday, July 23, 2014 - 21:00
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