Thai junta selects new constitution drafters


Thailand’s military government on Monday selected a new constitution drafting body, a month after rejecting a previous version of the charter, and with democratic elections not due until 2017.

The new 21-member committee will be headed by Meechai Ruechupan, the former president of the Senate and former president of the Council of State.

“The new constitution must be inclusive and encourage national reconciliation,” Meechai told reporters, noting that the process would take up to six months.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam previously told reporters that because of delays in drawing up a constitution, the earliest elections could happen was 2017.

The military also appointed a 200-member reform body that will provide a sounding board for the drafting committee and vote on the charter.

In September, the military rejected a proposed constitution that was drafted by a previous body that it had also appointed.

Critics say that the constitution drafting cycle is designed to keep the military in power.

“The constitution drafting process may be just a sideshow,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute for Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University, when the last charter was rejected.