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Saturday, Aug 30, 2014

Asia

3,000 candidates nominated for Thailand's reform council

The Nation/ANN | Saturday, Aug 30, 2014

Government House is being renovated in preparation for the new Cabinet.

Well-known figures were yesterday nominated to become members of the upcoming National Reform Council, with the total number of candidates now exceeding 3,000 as the nomination deadline draws nearer.

Among the big names nominated yesterday by different not-for-profit legal entities were Admiral Pajun Tamprateep, a former aide to Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, Boon Rawd Brewery executive vice president Chutinant Bhirombhakdi, multi-colour-shirts group leader Dr Tul Sitthisomwong, and former deputy finance minister Pisit Lee-artham.

Chutinant is the father of Chitpas Kridakon, who was a leader of the anti-government People's Demo-cratic Reform Committee (PDRC).

The nominees also include former Election Commission member Prapun Naigowit, former ombudsman Pichet Soontornpipit, Ombudsman Panit Nitithanprapas, and former Football Association of Thailand president Vijit Ketkaew.

In all, some 100 well-known figures from different fields have been nominated so far.

The NRC's main role will be to propose reform ideas in 11 areas.

According to the provisional charter, the military's ruling National Council for Peace and Order will select no more than 250 NRC members from a list of candidates suggested by selection committees. The nomination period closes on Tuesday.

Alongkorn Ponlaboot, a former deputy leader of the Democrat Party, caused a stir yesterday when he tweeted that he would join the NRC to "push for national reform along with other sectors of society".

He said it was time to "think of the country's future and overcome the conflict before uniting for a big overhaul of the country".

The senior Democrat also tweeted that the country's three largest political parties - Pheu Thai, the Democrats and Chart Thai - should have representatives on the NRC.

The comments led to allegations the Democrat Party had failed to keep its word - that it would not be involved with the NRC.

However, Democrat leader Abhisit Vejjajiva explained that Alongkorn would not be a representative of the party if he were on the NRC.

Abhisit earlier had said that any Democratic member who sat on the NRC would not be fielded by the party at the next election. He said that rule also applied to Alongkorn.

Meanwhile, the PDRC, which staged street protests in Bangkok against the previous elected government for more than six months, said the group's leaders would not join the NRC although some of its members might be nominated.

Thaworn Senneam, a PDRC leader, said he expected the group's members to push its reform ideas if they were selected to become NRC members. However, he added that the group would also propose reform ideas to the NRC even if none of its members were selected.

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