[JURIST] The Constitution Drafting Council in Thailand [JURIST news archive] Wednesday presented the new draft constitution, which will be put to a referendum later this month. The 2007 draft, which would replace the 1997 constitution [text], calls for national elections to take place by the end of 2007. The 35-member drafting committee said the new constitution will prevent graft and restore democracy to the nation; new provisions address abuses of power and appear to limit the power of elected politicians. The draft constitution limits prime ministers to two four-year terms, and reduces the number of parliament members from 500 to 400 and the number of senators from 200 to 160. Under the new constitution, senators will be appointed rather than elected. A new provision also mandates that any lawmaker found guilty of corruption in a criminal or civil court is automatically removed from office.
Thailand is presently governed by an interim constitution [JURIST report] imposed by the military leaders who seized power from former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra [JURIST news archive] in a coup [JURIST report] last year. The Constitutional Drafting Council was established [JURIST report] in January and given a six-month deadline to prepare the new constitution. Military leaders have said that if this new draft constitution is not approved by the public, they will impose their own constitution. AFP has more.