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Public providing input on draft charter at forums

Members of the public have provided several useful suggestions for what the Constitution Drafting Committee should include in the new national charter during a series of seven public forums held around the country, the head of the Committee’s panel on public participation said last week. 
 
Thawilwadee Bureekul, head of the panel and member of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), said she hoped that public input into the document would produce an “organic democracy,” that would have a high degree of immunity to the forces and factors that cause democracies to fail.
 
“Democracy also needs immunity, and its best immune system is the people,” she said. “Listening to people's opinions can lead to better democracy in Thailand.”
 
An organic democracy is the opposite of a “toxic democracy,” she said, which is one that produces problems, conflicts and disputes.
 
The seven forums were held in the provinces of Suphan Buri, Roi Et, Chiang Mai, Surat Thani, Udon Thani, Songkhla and Surin. Those who attended, Thawilwadee said, were enthusiastic in presenting proposals, and that is clear evidence that the people want a voice in the future direction of the country, rather than being set on a predetermined path by the authorities.
 
While some political groups and mass organizations have stayed at arms length from the constitution drafting process, Thawilwadee said many strong supporters of the Red Shirt movement attended the forum held in Udon Thani province.  Udon Thani is in the northeast, a stronghold of the Red Shirts and the Pheu Thai party.
 
She said the Red Shirts who attended the forums expressed a desire to see reconciliation promoted and offered several ideas on how to reduce inequality.  Although the economy in the Northeast has been growing rapidly in recent years, the area is still one of the poorer regions of Thailand, and the Red Shirt movement retains an appeal to the rural poor of the Northeast.
 
Several common themes emerged at all the forums.  Chief among them were that the people wanted better, cleaner politicians and a better system, and they wanted corruption eradicated efficiently.
 
Thawilwadee said that the charter drafters, having read many of the public proposals, will set up a body to strengthen the role of the public in the political process.
 
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngarm said last week that he will begin surveying government ministries on the draft charter to seek their opinions and suggestions on what has been produced so far.
 
He said that several ministries had already submitted written opinions, but the draft charter had been revised since that time and so the ministries need to examine the draft as it now exists.
 
See the original article at: http://www.thaiembassydc.org/?p=2533

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