BANGKOK (Xinhua) – Thailand might not have a new general election until mid-2016, given the likelihood of a referendum to be held after the drafting of a permanent constitution is completed, a renowned Thai academic said Sunday.
The possible referendum on the new constitution, which is expected to take shape by mid-2015, could take least three months. Then, the reviewing of issues that arise during the referendum and modification of the draft charter would require three or four more months,
Pornchai Trakulwaranont, vice rector for administration of Thammsat University, told Xinhua.
Thailand might have a new permanent constitution in place by the end of 2015, Pornchai said, adding that it would then take about another four months to prepare a general election.
For the new constitution to have “legitimacy from the people,” it is necessary to hold a referendum and the approval rate should stand at 70 per cent or more, Pornchai said.
The academic also voiced opposition against a much-debated proposal of having the prime minister and cabinet members directly elected rather than picked from among elected legislators as in the past.
“It would be very dangerous, if you split the House of Representatives from the administration, You cannot expect any other source of power to balance the administrative body,” he added.
Previously, if the government grew too powerful, the House of the parliament could do something about it, but once direct election is adopted for future heads of the government, they could “claim legitimacy to do whatever they want to do because they are elected by the people,” he said.
The proposal, endorsed by the Political Reform Committee under the National Reform Council, is yet to be considered by the Constitution Drafting Committee.