Wisanu and Suwaphan assigned by PM to resolve the supreme patriarch’s appointment issue

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Deputy Prime Minister Wisanu Krea-ngarm and PM’s Office Minister Suwaphan Tanyuwatthana have been assigned by the prime minister to find a way out for the controversy regarding the appointment of a new supreme patriarch.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha said Thursday that the controversy has dragged on for quite some time and, so far, he still has no answer. He pointed out that the issue has gone to an extent that the two opposing camps have resorted to legal means to press their point of view.

Asked whether the government should seize this opportunity to effect reform in the monastic structure, the prime minister shot back at the reporter who asked the question saying that people themselves should start self-reforming.

“I am in the government and I am a Buddhist but I have to look after the other religions as well. Why don’t we cooperate so that we can co-exist peacefully,” said the prime minister.

He reiterated the 20th supreme patriarch would not be appointed so long as the conflict remains unresolved.

The Sangha Supreme Council has nominated Somdet Phra Maharatchamangalacharn or Somdet Chuang, the abbot of Wat Paknam Phasicharoen and the acting supreme patriarch. A large group of monks led by Phra Metheethammacharn staged a rally at Phutthamonthon Buddhist Park on Monday to demand immediate Royal endorsement of Somdet Chuang’s nomination.

The prime minister said that he didn’t think reforming the monastic structure now would work because the parties in the conflict were not in a mood to listen.