Meechai coy on cutting drafting time

Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan says he doesn't know yet if he can move a little faster on organic laws needed before an election can be organised. (Bangkok Post file photo)

The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) may or may not be able to shorten the time frame for drafting the organic laws required before the new general election can be scheduled, CDC chairman Meechai Ruchupan said Tuesday.

He was responding to questions regarding any possible changes to the so-called roadmap to the new election.

The CDC now intends to complete the drafting of the first eight out 10 organic laws before eight months as it remains uncertain how long it will take to get the drafting of the other two organic laws done, he said.

An organic law is one that states the formal constitution of a nation.

The two draft laws will deal with the election of members of parliament and the composition of the Senate, in which the CDC will be able to finish drafting only when the draft organic laws on the Election Commission (EC) and the political parties are approved by the National Legislative Assembly (NLA), he said.

"How the details of these two organic laws turn out will determine whether we will be able to shorten the entire time frame [of the entire process of drafting all organic laws required] or have to stick to the maximum time given," he said.

Starting from the day the new constitution receives royal approval, the CDC will then be required to finish drafting all 10 organic laws and the NLA finish deliberating them within 10 months or slightly over 10 months, he said.

However, whether the CDC will need up to eight months as allowed to complete the drafting process of the eight organic laws will also depend on how ready the EC and the political parties will actually be by the time of the drafting, he said.

The CDC will forward the last two draft organic laws to the NLA only when the EC and all political parties affirm they are ready, he said.

Section 268 of the draft charter, endorsed in last August's referendum, states that the election must be completed within 150 days from the day all four organic laws concerning the poll take effect, he said.

"The decision as to when the new election will be held [within the 150 days given] will lie entirely with the EC," the CDC chairman said.

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