English Translation of the Unelected Prime Minister Referendum Question Citizen Briefing

[1]
 
By resolution, the National Legislative Assembly has requested that the Election Commission add the following question to the referendum, in conformity to Article 35/1 paragraph 7 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim) of 2014, Second Amendment, 2016.
 
The Question: 
 
Do you or do you not agree that for the sake of continuing national reform in pursuance of the strategic plan, that it is appropriate to specify as a transitional measure that for the first five years from the convening of the first parliament under this constitution, the prime minister shall be approved by joint session of parliament?
 
[2]
 
Principles, rationale, and explanations for the National Legislative Assembly’s proposal that the Election Commission add the question to the referendum. 
 
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Principles
 
To give the country an important mechanism, assuring society for the period of transition throughout the first five years, the term of first parliament under the new constitution, for steering a continuing process of national reform in pursuance of the national strategic plan. Such a mechanism is appropriate for enforcement and oversight in the management of the affairs of state and to maintain stability for state administrators. But it is also appropriate that this important mechanism be approved by the people through the referendum process.
 
Rationale
 
Article 35 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim) of 2557 specifies that the draft of any new constitution must including the following.
(10) mechanisms that will push various important reforms through to completion. Accordingly, the Draft Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand disseminated to society by the drafting committee on 29 March 2016 addresses national reform in Chapter 16 giving the Senate the duty and authority to monitor, propose and accelerate reforms in order to fulfill the reform objectives of Chapter 16. At the same time, Article 270 decrees that the council of ministers shall have the duty and responsibility of informing parliament of progress in implementing the strategic plan for national reform with status reports every three months. Therefore, in order that the nation may possess an important mechanism assuring society during the period of transition, not less than the first five year parliamentary term under the Draft Constitution, in order to drive continuing national reform under the strategic plan and in conformity to the directives of Chapter 16 of the draft constitution, the National Legislative Assembly in consultation with the National Reform Steering Assembly, which has direct responsibility and authority for actualizing reform, finds it appropriate to include the question as an issue essential for the first five years from the implementation of the constitution stating that the prime minister should be approved by parliament. As required by Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim) of 2557, Second Amendment, 2016, Article 29/1, Seventh Paragraph, the National Legislative Assembly proposes the additional question in consultation with the National Reform Steering Committee.
 
For these reasons, we find that as a mechanism for continuing national reform in keeping with the strategic plan during the five-year period of reform, it is appropriate that the prime minister be approved by joint session of parliament to perform the duties of managing the affairs of state during the five years of change designated as a transitional period in order to drive the various facets of national reform to completion and to fulfill the objectives of the national strategic plan and the aspirations designated in the Draft Constitution effectively and efficiently for maximal benefit of the people and the nation. At the same time, consideration of candidates for the office of prime minister by joint session would generate acceptance and support for the appointee from the heads of all administrative entities. 
 
[3]
 
Explanation
 
Article 35 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim) of 2557 specifies that the new constitution must cover various important concerns relevant to the period of national transition. In particular, Article 35 specifies ten major features consisting in effective and efficient mechanisms for steering the country in various facets of national life. One of these, Item 10, calls for mechanisms to push through to completion reform in various significant areas of concern. Accordingly, the Draft Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand of (year), disseminated to society by the Constitution Drafting Committee on 29 March 2016 addresses national reform in Chapter 16. The Senate is given the duty and authority to monitor, suggest, and accelerate national reform for the fulfillment of objectives and the council of ministers is given the duty and responsibility of reporting the progress of national reform to parliament every three months (Article 270).
 
The above mentioned mechanism is necessary so that the nation may have an important mechanism assuring society during the minimum five-year period of transition, during the first parliamentary term, in keeping with the decrees of the new constitution, in order to drive continuing national reform and concrete implementation of the national strategic plan and for conformity with the dictates of Chapter 16 of the draft new constitution extending to oversight ensuring that the various mechanisms called for in Article 35 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim) 2014 are maximally effective and efficient in fulfilling the objectives of correcting various national problems. However, the new draft constitution lacks this important mechanism. With input from the National Reform Steering Assembly, which has direct authority in actualizing national reform, the National Legislative Assembly believes that there should be a question on the proposal that for the first five years from implementation of the Constitution, the prime minister be approved by parliament. Article 39/1 Paragraph 7 of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim) of 2014, Second Amendment 2016 requires that in considering any additional question, the National Legislative Assembly must include the views of the National Reform Steering Assembly in its considerations.  
 
For these reasons we find that for the sake of a mechanism for overseeing continuing national reform following the strategic plan through the five-year transition period, it is appropriate that a prime minister suited to the tasks of administering the affairs of the state for the first five years of change specified as the transitional period be approved by joint session of parliament. This would allow various national reforms to be steered through to completion, fulfilling the national strategic plan and the aspirations designated in the Draft Constitution effectively and efficiently and for maximal benefit of the people and the nation. At the same time, consideration of candidates for the office of prime minister by joint session would generate acceptance and support of the appointee from the heads of all administrative entities.