Monday, September 25, 2006

Thai Military Council to Stay For a Year

The Council for Democratic Reform Under Constitutional Monarchy [CDRM], of the Thai military junta will stay on for a year though a new civilian government is expected to be named soon.
Its Secretary-General Gen Winai Phattiyakul said once a new prime minister was appointed by the CDRM, the body would be transformed into the National Security Council.

The CDRM is expected to provide a shortlist to King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who will name a new leader on Wednesday September, 27.

He said the National Security Council would remain until a permanent constitution was drafted and a fresh general election was held within a year.

Winai said the CDRM will assist the Prime Minister to look after the country, especially on security matters, to maintain stability and sustain the economy, he told a press conference Monday.

Asked who would replace Thaksin and the criteria the military was looking at, Winai said no decision has been made.“We have so many lists. We need a person who is honest, courageous, charismatic, well respected by the people, good in economic matters and commands investor confidence," he said.

Among the front-runners for the job is Supachai Panitchpakdi, the former head of the World Trade Organisation. Other candidates includes Chatumongol Sonakul, former Central Bank Chief, sacked by Mr Thaksin, Pridiyathorn Devakula, the Head of the Central Bank and Ackaratorn Chularat, President of Supreme Administrative Court.

“The CDRM imposed a ban on political activities was necessary though the situation was calm and peaceful to ensure the situation remains stable," he said.

“ A temporary constitution drafted to replace the 1997 Constitution, abolished after the coup led by Army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, has been completed and would be announced this week” Winai said.

He said that drafting of a permanent constitution would start immediately and would take about eight months before a fresh general election was held.

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