Future Forward warned not to touch Thaksin issue in its attempt to change the Constitution

The Future Forward party leader has been warned, by the Thailand Development Research Institute’s (TDRI) president Dr. Somkiat Tangkitvanich, not to touch sensitive issues as part of the party’s attempt to amend the Constitution, and to be more receptive to the opinions of his opponents.

Speaking at a panel discussion on Sunday at Khon Kaen University, Dr. Somkiat said he felt uncomfortable when Mr. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, leader of the Future Forward party, mentioned reviving the cases against former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra during his talk about charter amendments. He warned that half of Thai society would oppose the idea, which could render any attempt to amend the charter a failure from the start.

He said that the issues to be amended must not divide the Thai people, but unite them, adding that the public should have a role in raising the issues to be amended because the charter itself was endorsed in a referendum.

He asked Thanathorn to be careful about his attitude toward his political opponents and to avoid using insulting language. The so-called pro-democracy camp should be open-minded and more receptive to opposing views “because democracy is a venue for public participation, even though they may think differently.”

Thanathorn said he hadn’t specifically mentioned Thaksin during his talk about the justice process, which needs to be amended, but merely wanted to convey the message that, in the past decade, many innocent people have been unfairly tried and imprisoned.

Meanwhile, former deputy prime minister Pridiyathorn Devakula said that the existing Constitution was written in a way to enable the coup makers to stay on in power.

He criticized the Prayut government for being narrow-minded, intolerant of criticism and lacking fiscal discipline, citing their populist policies and the procurement of a Chinese submarine by the Royal Thai Navy, plus the lack of competent people working for the government.

The former deputy prime minister also blamed the former commerce minister, an army general, for his belated decision to unload the huge rice stocks, purchased under the Yingluck government’s rice pledging scheme, causing huge losses to the state.

He said that 17 million tonnes of rice had been stockpiled since 2014 and, when it was eventually sold 2-3 years later, most of the rice was already rotten and had to be sold as animal feed.

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