Chuan does not recognize this Constitution, but disagrees with dumping it

House Speaker Chuan Leekpai said today that he has not recognized the existing Constitution from the beginning, while disagreeing with a rewrite of the entire document “because that won’t be useful at all”.

“We must sit down together to discuss what we want, as far as democracy is concerned.  How many Houses should we have?  Should we have a Senate?  What should be the role of the Senate?  Should the Senate be elected or appointed?” said Chuan as he voiced his support for constitutional amendments.

The opposition, particularly the Future Forward party, has been calling for a new charter, likening the existing Constitution to the “poisoned fruit” from a “poisoned tree”, because it was enacted under an unelected military administration.

In his special lecture, entitled “the Hope of the House of Representatives under the 2017 Constitution” at Thammasat University today, Mr. Chuan categorically dismissed the claim, by Constitution Drafting Committee chairman Meechai Ruchupan, that the 2017 Constitution is an anti-corruption charter, noting that, even if the charter was equipped with built-in mechanisms, corruption would still exist if the law enforcers break the law themselves.

The House Speaker said that several Thai constitutions have been modelled on those in western countries, which were already obsolete and had been dumped by those countries.  He cited a meeting some time ago, with the German ambassador to Thailand, who said Germany used to have several smaller parties, each of which won not many votes, but such an electoral system had already been abandoned.

“Now we have 15-16 parties in the Thai government and seven parties in the opposition block, which is not a common phenomenon,” said Mr Chuan.

Elected as an MP sixteen times over the past five decades, the former prime minister noted that every constitution enacted after a coup contains provisions to ensure that the coup makers will be the next administration, citing the cases of the late Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn and General Kriangsak Chomanan.

However, he said that those charters were short-lived, unlike the existing Constitution “which I have no idea how long it will last”.

Chuan recalled a private meeting with Mr. Supote Khaimook, vice chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee tasked with writing the current charter, saying that he told the latter the problems stem, not from shortcomings in the document, but from people who defy the rule of law.

The House of Representatives, said Chuan, should be the role model for compliance with the law, adding that he has reminded Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-ha to appear in response to invitations from House committees, adding that he also reminded House committees that those invited for questioning or clarifications are not criminal suspects and should be treated with due respect.


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