Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Defence Minister and deputy junta leader, defended the junta’s proposal to reserve seats for military chiefs in the Senate, saying that the plan will prevent coups d’état in the future.
Thairath News reported that Gen Prawit Wongsuwan on Wednesday morning, 16 March 2016, at the Ministry of Defence, told the media that the proposal of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) to have an all-appointed senate with six seats reserved for military and police leaders is only for a five-year transition period toward ‘full democracy’.
Under the proposal, all 250 seats in the Senate are to be either selected or appointed by a panel of 8-10 members before the list of those selected is sent for royal endorsement. Six seats, however, will be reserved for the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, the Supreme Commander, the chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force, and the police chief.
Meechai Ruchupan, CDC chairman, said earlier that he will consider the proposal next week.
The plan has been criticised by many people, including politicians from both the Pheu Thai and the Democrat Parties, who decried the proposal as a coup d’état in disguise.
However, Gen Prawit said the plan to have the top military and police brass sitting in the Upper House will, if it is enacted, prevent future coups d’état.
In addition, the Defence Minister urged politicians to be at ease and not to voice concerns about the proposal, saying that there will be an election soon next year.
Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Defence Minister (file photo)