REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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Your Say, Your Charter

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Say-Your-Charter-30292264.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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YUKTI MUKDAWIJITRA, SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY LECTURER AT THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY

If the draft were to be approved, I would firstly lose the power to determine my own fate because I have had no part in the drafting process and future draft amendments would be almost impossible.

Secondly, I would not be able to vote on the country’s leader, as the prime minister would not have to be a member of the House of Representatives. Thirdly, I will have no hand in selecting political policies and lastly, my rights and liberty would deteriorate.

SONGPON JAIYEN, A UNIVERSITY STUDENT IN PHUKET PROVINCE

I have not followed politics closely, but from what I’ve heard, the charter sounds unfair and limits people’s rights and freedom of expression. Campaigning is deemed to be a crime and dissenters will be charged. As to what happens to my life if the draft is passed, I would say I have no clue. I think the draft has both pros and cons.

WUTTHIPHAT SONGSIRIPANYA, A MOTORCYCLE TAXI DRIVER IN BANGKOK

No change. My life will continue as usual. I don’t know what would happen if the draft is passed. We have no clue about how to anticipate the future. Let the powers-that-be play political games.

TEWIN DEEDUAYCHAT, A TAXI DRIVER IN BANGKOK

After the draft gets approved, my life will be more difficult. Citizens’ rights would be reduced. Can I speak about this issue?

Your Say, Your Charter

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Say-Your-Charter-30292185.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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EAKPANT PINDAVANIJA, DIRECTOR OF THE INSTITUTE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND PEACE STUDIES

My academic work deals with human rights issues. Our views are opposed to dictatorship and the military government, so if the draft is enforced, we will be in dissent.

There will be an infringement of human rights and freedom of expression will be limited. Also, I will have more difficulties in my work life.

BUNTOON SRETHASIROTE, KEY MEMBER OF THE PLATFORM OF CONCERNED CITIZENS AND FORMER MEMBER OF THE NOW-DEFUNCT NATIONAL REFORM COUNCIL

I have to follow up on laws under the draft’s Article 58, which will be written after the draft is passed. The laws will stipulate the duties of the state and its people. For instance, whether people and how many of them can sign their names to propose laws to the House of Representatives.

These laws will have an impact on society.

SAB CHOBKLA, TAXI DRIVER IN BANGKOK

My life will not change at all. I will be as poor as I am. If the draft passes, the military will still have an influence in Thai politics. The economy will worsen due to the global slowdown and an ineffective new government.

The military are not politicians or executives, so they cannot run the country productively.

PRASERT NIMNUAL, |MOTORCYCLE TAXI DRIVER IN BANGKOK

I have not read the draft yet and have no idea which way it will lead the country.

After the coup, my life as a motorcycle taxi has become tough. There is a lot more red tape in the process of getting a motorcycle taxi licence. The application fee has also risen from Bt50 to Bt100.

If the draft is approved, I don’t think the military government will remain in power any longer. However, the next government may focus on developing the country and impose stricter rules on the poor.

Your Say, Your Charter

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Say-Your-Charter-30292100.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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ANUSORN UNNO, SOCIOLOGY LECTURER AT THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY AND KEY MEMBER OF THE THAI ACADEMIC NETWORK FOR CIVIL RIGHTS

If the draft is accepted, then the relationship between Thai people and the state will change. The state will become superior to the people, having sweeping powers to arbitrarily control the people and the country in various aspects such as social welfare, rights to national resources and healthcare privileges.

CHALITA BUNDHUWONG, SOCIOLOGY AND ANTHROPOLOGY LECTURER AT KASETSART UNIVERSITY AND A MEMBER OF THE UNIVERSITY’S POLITICAL SCIENCE ASSOCIATION

Once the draft is approved, I will have to talk with my network of academics to see what moves we should make to fight for democracy. We will also have to monitor the junta’s moves after the referendum before we take any steps.

SOMSONG WATTANA, MEMBER OF THE NETWORK OF PEOPLE AFFECTED BY ARTICLE 44

If the draft gets approved, Article 44, which gives Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, as head of the National Council for Peace and Order, sweeping powers, will automatically remain.

The PM will continue enforcing Article 44 to handle different issues. However, the excessive use of this power apparently will affect people’s way of life and environment. For instance, the premier has allowed an exemption in city-planning laws for gas plants in reserved agriculture zones in Chachoengsao province. More and more people and areas will be damaged due to this.

AKKANUT WANTANASOMBUT, INDEPENDENT RESEARCHER

I think as a member of the middle class, the new charter will not affect my personal life because I, like other middle-class people, am self-reliant. However, the bureaucratic and centralised system under the new charter will devalue participation in politics at the grassroots level.

Your Say, Your Charter

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Say-Your-Charter-30292027.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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SURACHET SATITNIRAMAI, |NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSIONER

In the short term, the draft would not affect my personal life. But in the middle to long term, it would have impacts on the country. After the approval, organic laws due to be written in line with the draft would affect the evolution of society in various aspects such as education and the economy.

SIROTE KLAMPAIBOON, |INDEPENDENT POLITICAL SCIENCE SCHOLAR

If the draft passes, I think the popular Bt30 healthcare scheme would be revoked and I would be affected as I am someone who relies on the scheme. With the 20-year national reform strategy enshrined in the draft, the next generation would have to live under a national strategy that they had not had the chance to help to shape.

SUMITCHAI HATTASAN, HEAD OF HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER ASSOCIATION

My workload would increase. Working in the human rights field, I would have to monitor mounting cases related to infringements of human rights as the dictatorship would somehow continue ruling the country. Marginalised people would be more and more suppressed as we have seen when they were forced to leave their residences following the junta’s move to reclaim forests.

TEERASAK THONGSUANG, HEAD OF TAMBON NONG TAD, BURI RAM PROVINCE

My life would not change a great deal. In my view, a constitution is related to national policies rather than people’s daily lives. Those who take power would have access to the law, instead of the grassroots. However, I think the draft would affect the country in the long run.

Your Say, Your Charter

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Say-Your-Charter-30291916.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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ANGKHANA NEELAPHAIJIT, NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION COMMISSIONER

As a human-rights activist, I would have to adjust myself a lot. I am not familiar with a constitution that devalues human rights. Under this draft, social welfare and the right to access resources would depend on the state to design this.

As the draft does not guarantee the rights of people, we perhaps have to unwillingly accept anything that the state provides to us.

YINGCHEEP ATCHANON, PROJECT MANAGER FOR INTERNET DIALOGUE ON LAW REFORM (ILAW)

The passing of the charter would make my life busier for years to come. The National Council for Peace and Order would prolong its tenure. We would likely see more and more arbitrary use of power by the junta. And iLaw has to keep an eye on this, such as on the arbitrary arrests of dissenters or the promulgation of a large number of laws.

NUTCHANART THANTHONG, CHIEF OF THE THAI SLUM COMMUNITY GROUP IN SAMUT PRAKAN PROVINCE

If the draft passes the referendum, I am afraid my rights to healthcare would be compromised. Under this draft, the country would become more of a bureaucratic state, which could be clouded with red tape. People could not access the state’s services easily.

WATCHARIN SUTHALAWADEE, A CHIEF OF MUANG UDON THANI DISTRICT

This draft has clear rules and regulations governing government officers. The clear law would facilitate officers like me to work more easily as we have clear rules to abide by.

‘Democracy still best answer for Thailand’

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Democracy-still-best-answer-for-Thailand-30291917.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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It’s widely acknowledged that politicians played a role in Thailand’s prolonged problems. As the country may be about to reset with a new constitution, The Nation’s Piyaporn Wongruang and Kasamakorn Chanwanpen talked to Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva and key Pheu Thai Party figure Chaturon Chaisang about the lessons learned from their mistakes and what they can do to help to shape a better future. Read full version on http://www.nationmultimedia.com/referendum2016

Here is an excerpt from the interview with Abhisit

AS WE ALL KNOW, POLITICIANS HAVE HAD A ROLE IN THE COUNTRY’S PROBLEMS, HOW DO YOU REFLECT ON THIS ISSUE? DO YOU AGREE WITH WHAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE SAID, THAT POLITICIANS ARE ALL BAD AND SHOULD BE REMOVED?

Let me start from this point. Thailand, like any country in the world, cannot avoid the truth that ultimately people have rights and a role in determining the country’s future. I would like to stress this point because some people have devalued democracy and made it something intangible that cannot be touched and thus cannot help to solve the country’s problems.

However, history has told us that to solve the country’s problems and to move forward, people’s participation with a guarantee of freedom and liberty makes this possible. On the other hand, we have had democracy corrupted by politicians to serve their own interests. Some have entered politics with a democratic spirit, but became undemocratic, and that often causes a problem and conflict instead.

In turn, people lose faith in them and in democracy. People come to the conclusion that democracy itself is a problem. In my view, our past problems were not the result of democracy itself, but the way it was corrupted or distorted. I still have hope for a constitution to help to lead us to a “clean” democracy, one without any corruption of power.In my view, our past problems were not the result of democracy itself, but the way it was corrupted or distorted.

Unfortunately, the charter draft has apparently failed to address this most critical challenge. It has just tried to rearrange political power, while giving weight to the bureaucratic element, which itself is also a cause of problems. We have a question to ask together: Whether this charter draft, which would have relatively permanent features because it would be difficult to amend in the future, is good enough to lead us to answer the country’s challenges.

THAT MEANS YOU DO NOT THINK THAT IT WOULD LEAD US TO WHAT WE DESERVE – TRUE DEMOCRACY?

I think we have three main challenges to be addressed, which are closely related to true democracy, especially the first point, and this charter draft does not answer them.

First, it does not address the country’ sustainable development path that helps to lift people’s quality of life. The most critical challenge that we have is inequality and poverty, and the best regime to respond to these needs is true democracy.

Second, conflict and division can only be solved by democracy and justice, and they should not be mixed up like we did in the past. However, this charter draft has rearranged the composition of the new government and introduced a new power of 250 selected senators, which in my view could cause a new conflict. If we look back in history, we will see that government’s trying to carry on in power end in severe conflict.

And last, the corruption problem. I actually support the efforts to suppress corruption in the charter draft, but I feel that the measures proposed in the draft will take us backwards.

The charter draft does not respond to these three challenges. That’s the reason why I said that if the charter does not pass the referendum, it would give the country an opportunity to get something better.

IT SEEMS YOU BELIEVE IF WE MANAGE TO ADDRESS THESE 3 POINTS, WE WILL MOVE TOWARDS TRUE DEMOCRACY. HOWEVER, POLITICIANS IN THE PAST HAD ROLES TO PLAY, WHETHER GOOD OR BAD, IN RELATION TO ALL OF THESE POINTS. SO WHAT CAN THEY DO ABOUT THIS?

They can do something to make things better. And there is something that very much has to be done fundamentally regarding people’s rights and liberty. Politicians quite like for people to have a relatively low level of rights and freedom. But it’s something that they have to accept (that people have the right to help determine the country’s future). They must review past lessons or otherwise the problems the country faces will grow more complex over time. My government learned this from the case of Map Ta Phut (environmental controversies).

Meanwhile, various social security benefits for people need to be protected and promoted by us politicians.

Second, there is the issue of conflict and division. It’s still a challenge to prevent politicians from triggering conflict and hatred among people. I agree that there must be a mechanism to deal with politicians in this aspect, but I do not agree with having a new body or power wielded by senators appointed as proposed in the draft, because they themselves will trigger a conflict, in my view.

Third, the corruption issue.

I agree with efforts to solve this problem, but increasing punishments alone, especially against politicians, cannot help. The best approach would be to put in place effective checks-and-balances mechanisms that cannot deny the role of people in the process and their political participation.

Most of all, we need a charter draft that promotes people having the rights and power to control politicians and their relationships.

DO YOU THINK POLITICIANS OR POLITICAL PARTIES STILL NEED MAJOR REFORM AS DEMANDED BY SOCIETY? IF SO, HOW?

Well, to deal with bad people we tend to think of systems, and the best system to screen bad people is still democracy, in my view.

Our party is also preparing to reform ourselves to better serve the people, to make it belong completely to the party members, who can participate in the party’s activities and decisions. Still, we are restricted by the National Council for Peace and Order, which does not allow us to hold political activities including meetings at the moment. If possible, I want to see political parties reformed.

Excerpts from Chaturon’s interview

AS WE KNOW THAT POLITICIANS HAVE HAD A ROLE IN THE COUNTRY’S PROBLEMS, WHAT ARE YOUR REFLECTIONS ON THE ISSUE? DO YOU AGREE WITH WHAT PEOPLE HAVE SAID – THAT POLITICIANS ARE ALL BAD AND SHOULD BE GOT RID OF?

To say politicians are the prime cause of the country’s problems has long been a created discourse since we first turned to democracy. It has long been used as an excuse for coups. That discourse may be partly true, but not entirely so.

I personally don’t accept this discourse, and no matter how problematic politicians are, that cannot be used as an excuse to legitimise a coup. This is what we need to address first so we can address problems about politicians correctly.

If you ask whether politicians and political parties have created extensive problems, the answer is yes, but again, that is not the sole cause of the country’s problems requiring a coup. That’s the wrong way of thinking, the wrong logic. There are no countries in the world that allow coups to solve such problems. I also support this view. There is no legitimacy at all in a coup, which always worsens the problems.

BUT BY SAYING THE DISCOURSE IS PARTLY TRUE, THAT MEANS YOU AGREE POLITICIANS OR POLITICAL PARTIES HAVE A PROBLEM?

They do, and to solve the problem and help the country to develop better, they need to change the way they practice. I would rather look at what flaws there are in the system.

First, political parties must be more democratic. They are generally dependent on money provided by political parties’ supporters, donors or even capitalists. Without a good management system in place, the majority of voices tend to be subjugated and lose their ability to keep the balance.

This actually has to do with rules and regulations to help facilitate our idealistic political parties, which need to be addressed in the supreme law of the constitution. The most critical challenge is how we help politicians to pursue political activities without being too dependent on the parties’ donors. In other words, how to make them more independent to represent the people better.

This is difficult, given the current system, which needs much more serious reform. There needs to be investments by society, whether financial support or other forms. The question is whether Thai society understands the point and is ready to contribute to this.Third, political parties need to develop public policies based on academic information that can truly serve the public interest or a majority of people.

If we support parties to develop their policies, that would help the parliamentary system, the electoral system and the parties themselves to move towards development that responds better to people’s needs.

WHAT ABOUT THE PROBLEM POSED BY POLITICIANS?

Our political parties are moving towards a two-party system, with each having their own base of voters and supporters, based relatively on region.

It’s true that screening candidates is the direct responsibility of political parties. There is a discourse that candidates are based on popularity within the party, which determine whoever, even a power pole, can be fielded in a poll.

To fix this, there is the idea of a primary voting system that would allow party members to choose their own candidates, but that’s still a long way off. On the other hand, the Election Commission’s recent regulations hinder the party’s development so what we see at present is the formation of political parties that have far fewer members compared with the old parties.

Primary voting is not yet an option at this point, while a good system to help manage political parties is not in place. What we see is that political parties are easily manipulated as are their politicians.

The charter draft, on the other hand, does not address this, and instead comes up with a new electoral system that even takes away the people’s will to select their favourite politicians.

ARE THEY ACTUALLY THE SAME ISSUE – THE PROBLEMS WITH POLITICAL PARTIES AND WITH POLITICIANS? DO YOU NOT THINK THAT POLITICIANS AS INDIVIDUALS HAVE A PROBLEM, OR THEY ARE “BAD”, AS PEOPLE HAVE SAID?

Personally, I don’t really believe in individuality. For me, the system comes first. If we have a good system, I believe that good people will have more of a chance to enter politics, which at the same time would help to keep them in check. If the system is poor or the rules are poor, good people just stepping across the door of politics is almost impossible, not to mention their ability to maintain their independence to work for the people. In the end, it’s back to the political parties. If they are not democratic, a lot of good people will not want to enter politics and will shy away.

That’s a different matter than corrupt politicians that needs to be addressed differently.

WHAT ABOUT THE ISSUE OF CORRUPT POLITICIANS, OR POLITICIANS PEOPLE PERCEIVE AS BAD?

Bad or corrupt politicians sometimes can be just a created discourse, as I said earlier. We often hear this discourse about politicians being bad or corrupt.

My point is that in recent years, despite what people have said, we have seen few politicians caught for corruption. That does not mean that there are none, as we all know, but I would like to point to our mechanisms to suppress problems including administrative corruption or electoral fraud.

In this draft, I don’t see much effort to fix these mechanisms. The Election Commission, for instance, is meant to deal with fraud but actually this has more to do with reforming political parties and their funding.The more interesting trend is that people’s favour has shifted more based on policies offered by political parties, not vote buying, based on studies I have read. This is indeed a very important development in politics here, and it’s actually a good trend in Thai society that should be supported.

To prevent electoral fraud, apart from improving suppression mechanisms, it’s back to the fundamental point, which is how we can reform and promote political parties and the electoral system. This can help come up with public policies that serve the interests of the people – that’s the meaning of democracy we have long wished for.

AND THE CURRENT CHARTER DRAFT DOES NOT ADDRESS THIS?

No, not quite, [given public policies would be determined and the parties would just have to follow, for instance]. On the contrary, the system we have developed under this draft would intercept the political development that has been done so far.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO AS A POLITICIAN?

If possible, I would try to raise all these issues and propose to the public the changes that should be made to our politics here. However, the current atmosphere does not seem to allow us to do so – the draft itself does not do so. I must accept that it’s quite difficult to say or suggest anything at this point. Actually, it’s really about a very different way of thinking that does not go in parallel with others. But if we have a chance, an open space to discuss this should be made available because creating a system from the ground requires the participation of stakeholders. Ultimately, I think it’s politicians and political parties who must think hard about changes or reforming themselves. Otherwise, we will not answer the question of how good democracy is and that would be the most critical weak point, which brings everyone back to square one – an excuse for a coup time and again.

Your Say, Your Charter

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Say-Your-Charter-30291838.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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SUNISA LERTPAKAWAT, A PHEU THAI MEMBER AND FORMER DEPUTY GOVERNMENT SPOKESWOMAN

If the draft passes the referendum, people’s right to get social welfare, free education, public health welfare and so on would deteriorate. The draft does not guarantee all people’s equality under state welfare and access to national resources.

VAS TINGSMITH, PRESIDENT OF THE NATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

Personally, my life would be the same. However, the draft would have a positive impact on my organisation. The commission would function under an organic law due to be written after the draft is passed. Under the organic law, the NHRC could work faster than under the current Act.

KAMOL RUANGSOOKSRI, BURI RAM MUANG MAYOR

I cannot see how things would go if the draft were approved. The PM has told nothing about what would happen if the draft gets approved or rejected. If it were turned down, would the military regime stay on in office to rewrite it or pick one of the past constitutions and amend it?

KRISADA MONTHATHIP, BAN SOMMAI VILLAGE HEAD, UDON THANI PROVINCE

No change would occur since I would have to carry out my duty as a village head as usual. No matter which political bloc takes office, I have to pass on its policies to villagers. I will do my best to serve the villagers.

Your Charter, Your Say

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Charter-Your-Say-30291718.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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JIRAPORN DHANARATTIGANNON, AN ENGLISH LECTURER AT KASETSART UNIVERSITY

If the draft is passed, my daily life will not change, but the surrounding [world] would. I would be more confident in the more strict laws, as they would contribute to a more pleasant society. The guilty would be duly punished. As a lecturer, I would then be able to teach students what good and bad are more clearly, citing case studies in society as examples. Otherwise, the students would not be convinced as they view the guilty as not being punished and still living happily in society.

AUKNUK I, AN ENGINEER

If the draft were to be passed, freedom of expression would be downgraded. I do hope the country can overcome the current economic slowdown.

CHAIYAPHAK C, A FINANCE CONSULTANT

Personally, no matter if the draft passes or not, it would not directly affect my life a great deal. But it would have an indirect impact on my life as a result of more stringent laws and regulations related to a general election and more restrictions on [human] rights and freedom of expression.

People may not be so gullible and get into quarrels as in the past.

WIRACHAI PRANVEERAPAIBOOL, A BUSINESSMAN

If the draft were to pass, my life would change for the better. I believe changes would make things better. The new laws would be more in line with the current situation. The country would become more contemporary. After it [the charter] is approved, the future of the country would become clearer. Then, investments and the economy would get a lift.

Your Charter, Your Say

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Charter-Your-Say-30291629.html

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MANA TREELAYAPEWAT, DEAN AT THE THAI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE UNIVERSITY’S SCHOOL OF COMMUNICATION ARTS

Nothing will change and life will carry on as usual. However, I will have to keep up to date with consequences after the constitution is in place and see how politicians and government officials maintain their bargaining power.

TEERAPONG S, LAWYER

If the draft makes it through the referendum, people’s basic rights, liberty and freedom will deteriorate. Also, conflicts among people in society will also persist. The draft will not be able to settle political disputes and guarantee that political turmoil will not erupt.

WITTAYAKORN BOONRUANG, FREELANCE JOURNALIST

The election method under Meechai [Ruchuphan]’s draft is biased towards a coalition government. From what I understand, a single party cannot form a strong and stable government. I am afraid that Thai politics will move backwards to the period before 1997 [when the so-called People’s Constitution was enacted.)

The government will not be able to initiate or run populist policies as the coalition government parties and appointed senators can put a brake on them.

I’m afraid people’s votes will be devalued as we can only select politicians we like but not select favourite policies.

SUPACHEEP A, COMPUTER ENGINEER

My life will change because Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will no longer be the prime minister. The country’s image will be a bit better and it will be a good sign for the economy and international relations.

Your Charter, Your Say

Published August 13, 2016 by SoClaimon

ศาสตร์เกษตรดินปุ๋ย : ขอบคุณแหล่งข้อมูล : หนังสือพิมพ์ The Nation

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Your-Charter-Your-Say-30291562.html

REFERENDUM SPECIAL

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NIKORN CHAMNONG, CHART THAI PATTANA PARTY’S DIRECTOR AND FORMER MP

Even if the draft is passed, my life will not change, as I will continue doing my duty as a politician. I have been in politics for nearly 30 years and have seen political changes and reform.

In terms of society, after approval, we will see great changes in several dimensions. Things will change and it will depend on us to see if we can get along with the changes or not.

PINKAEW LAUNGARAMSRI, SOCIOLOGIST AT CHIANG MAI UNIVERSITY

A constitution that fails to link to people, devalues people’s rights and power, deteriorates representative democracy and empowers a bureaucratic state will plague people’s lives.

Economic crises and political corruption will be more problematic and nobody will be responsible for this.

In my view, people do not seem to have the power to conduct checks on the state under this draft. For academics, their role in criticising the bureaucratic state would be considerably limited. Meanwhile, I think many of the upcoming organic laws would dramatically infringe upon people’s rights to express their opinions.

CHUWAT RERKSIRISUK, PRACHATAI’S MANAGING |EDITOR

Life as a journalist will not be the same. The draft will result in political conflicts and I will have to keep an eye on unstable politics.

Once the draft is approved, people’s rights and liberty will be corroded. The next government will be greatly influenced by the ruling military regime, which will appoint 250 senators. Demonstrations are bound to erupt and we will see an economic slowdown.

The international community will not trust or accept us. Political turmoil will hit foreign investment, followed by high levels of unemployment.

KRIT MAHATON, AN ISAAN VILLAGER

My life will be bad if the draft is passed. The economy will slow down, while the cost of living will be higher.

I believe there will be no welfare for the elderly as it will be cut. I have also learned that there will be no policy for the grassroots level nor will there be 15 years of free education.

People will live in a climate of fear because their community leaders and state officers will collaborate with the powers-that-be and the military. Villagers like me are somehow wondering what is going to happen if the draft is approved.

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