Junta’s reconciliation programme kicks off on Valentine’s day

The Pheu Thai Party has been left broken hearted after not receiving an invite to a reconciliation forum planned by the junta to begin on Valentine’s Day. Still, the junta promises an invitation is on its way. 
 
 
On 14 February 2017, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, deputy junta leader and Defence Minister, announced that the junta’s ‘day of love’ reconciliation forum had proceeded without difficulty.
 
On Valentine’s Day, the New Aspiration Party, the Farmer Network of Thailand Party, and the Commoners Party of Thailand, alphabetically the first 3 parties, were invited to the Defence Ministry to contribute their views on how to best achieve political reconciliation. The Chart Pattana Party has been invited to join the forum on 15 February.
 
The forum is key to the junta’s ongoing efforts to resolve the political conflict that has wracked the country over the past decade. Attendees will discuss with an NRC sub-committee 10 pre-determined topics ranging from peaceful conflict resolution to corruption to economic inequality. Participants will also be asked for input on the junta’s 20-year reform plan.
 
However, the Pheu Thai Party has reported it has yet to receive an invitation to the forum from the National Reconciliation Commission (NRC).
 
Disputing these allegations, Prawit maintained he has signed invitations to every political party — more than 70 in total. He believes the invitations may be merely delayed.
 
Prawit promised all political parties would be given adequate consultation time.
 
“The suggestions of political parties and the recommendations of all interest groups must be taken into consideration, including those of the media,” said Prawit.
 
Prawit proceeded to explain the reconciliation forum will be directed by four NRC subcommittees. The first subcommittee is tasked with receiving input from interest groups. The second will corroborate the findings. The third will draft an agreement for forum participants. From there, Prawit explained, the NRC will evaluate whether further consultation with political parties is needed.
 
Besides political parties, Prawit explained that the junta intends to consult with business groups. He suggested further that student groups will be able to express their opinions at regional panels organised by either the local military or provincial governments.