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Yingluck Shinawatra Raises Concerns over Military’s Drafted Constitution

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Supporters greet Thailand's Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (front left) in the northern town of Chiang Rai

Supporters greet Thailand’s Former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra (front left) in the northern town of Chiang Rai

CHIANG MAI – Former Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra raised questions on Monday about a Constitution drafted by military rulers, adding her voice to a chorus of concern over provisions in the charter that critics say is undemocratic.

A junta-appointed National Reform Council (NRC) is due to vote in September on whether to accept or reject the draft Constitution, with a rejection meaning more work and a delay in an election the military has promised for late 2016.

The draft is due to be presented to the NRC on Saturday, though parts of it have been published.

Yingluck, a populist prime minister who was forced from office last year after months of street demonstrations backed by the establishment, questioned the draft in comments on her Facebook page.

questioned the draft in comments on her Facebook page.

Yingluck questioned the draft in comments on her Facebook page.

“Many sides have expressed concern and worry,” she wrote. “A democratic Constitution must be closely linked to the public and give importance to the people in decision-making.”

The draft includes a proposal for a “national committee on reform and reconciliation strategy” dominated by the military that allows the security forces to intervene in a crisis.

“I don’t think there is a need to have a board that dominates the government and legislature in order to make decisions, even in times of crisis,” said Yingluck.

Critics say the newly drafted charter is aimed at, among other things, preventing a political comeback by Thaksin and his political machine, that has won every election since 2001.

On Saturday, Thaksin’s Puea Thai Party also criticized the draft saying it did not “recognize the sovereignty of the people” and would do little to reconcile a divided country.

Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has sent a clear signal on the draft charter, urging his supporters to throw it out.

Thaksin told a gathering of red shirts in Finland on Friday that the draft charter was against the will of the majority and said ”all democratic advocates” should reject it.

His latest message was posted on YouTube on Friday as he was giving a speech to his supporters.

The only chance for them to follow his call is in a referendum. The draft charter needs public endorsement in a referendum tentatively planned for early January if it is approved by the National Reform Council. The council plans to vote on it on Sept 7.

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