Regarding the opinion piece by Pavin Chachavalpongpun in the Dec. 21 edition titled “Thailand in 2015: a year of spinning its wheels,” I wish to make the following clarifications:

The current government is administrating the country during a crucial transition. As the prime minister has repeatedly stated, the government has no intention of prolonging its stay in power. The government is committed to moving the country forward in accordance with the road map that is now being implemented in the second and third phases of reform and reconciliation leading to the holding of a general election.

The new constitution lies at the very heart of the current political reform process. While there is no panacea, we need a constitution that addresses the gaps and shortcomings of Thai democracy. It was for these reasons that the National Reform Council did not pass the first draft of the new constitution.

At present, a new Constitution Drafting Committee appointed in October and led by Meechai Ruchupan, former president of the Senate and an eminent legal expert, has been tasked with drafting the new constitution within approximately 20 months. According to this time frame, a general election is to take place by July 2017. This has been reaffirmed by the prime minister.

The assertion that the government has failed to stimulate Thailand’s economy is contrary to the facts. The economy is back on the path of renewed growth and the latest figures clearly indicate that it is expected to grow between 2.7 and 3.2 percent this year despite the global economic downturn. The government is also expediting the process of economic reform to enhance the long-term competitiveness of the Thai economy by seeking a new generation of investment in science, technology, innovation and human resources development. These efforts, together with our ongoing endeavors to upgrade our infrastructures and enhance connectivity within ASEAN, will enable Thailand to position itself as a major hub of an increasingly economically integrated ASEAN community.

Ranida Chamchalerm

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

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