Thailand’s new provisional constitution

His Majesty the King bestowed the provisional Constitution to National Council for Peace and Order chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha at Klai Kangwon palace in Hua Hin, Prachuab Khiri Khan, Tuesday evening.

The interim charter has altogether 48 articles.  The essence of the charter is as follows:

The charter entails the setting up of the National Legislative Assembly which serves as both the Senate and the House of Representatives.  The assembly is made up of 220 members to be appointed by HM the King at the advice of the NCPO.

One unique qualification of the members of the NLA is that he/she must not hold a position in any political party in the past three years before the appointment to the NLA.

The NLA will have one president and two deputies all of whom are to be elected by the assemblymen and officially appointed by HM the King. An assemblyman can be impeached if at least 25 members initiated the impeachment process but two-thirds of the votes are required for the impeachment to take effect.

The NLA will choose the prime minister who will handpick 34 cabinet ministers.  The prime minister must not be a member of any political party for the past three years before the appointment.

The charter also entails the creation of the National Reform Council which is made up of 250 members to be appointed by HM the King at the advice of the NCPO.  But unlike the NLA, a former party member or a party executive can be appointed to sit in the NRC.

The NCPO will appoint a selection committee whose task is to prepare a list of nominees from various groups of people from the government, private, academic and professional sectors.  The NCPO will pick altogether 250 members, including one representing each province who was nominated by the provincial selection committees.

The role of the NRC is to bring about reforms in the following areas: politics, national administration, laws, local administration, education, economy, energy, public health and environment media and the society.

The provisional charter also entails the setting up of a 36-member Constitution drafting committee.  20 of them are to be appointed by the National Reform Council and five each to be appointed by the NLA, the cabinet and the NCPO.  The charter drafting committee is given 120 days to finish its job of drafting a new charter.

The new charter must cover the following elements: a mechanism to prevent a person convicted or corruption or found guilty of election fraud to assume political offices; a mechanism to prevent charter amendment to remove important principles incorporated in  the charter and etc.

The NRC can seek charter amendments within 30 days since the council accepted the charter.