Yingluck’s reform council is growing in clout, as many have joined, several local Thai press reports. The council targets to solve Thailand’s political divide. Deputy Prime Minister Varathep Ratanakorn said Thailand’s powerful Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking has agreed to join the Yingluck’s reform council. The committee consists of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Thai Industries (FTI) and the Thai Bankers Association. In a statement, FTI chairman Payungsak Chartsutipol said the federation would join the reform initiative. “If political reform is properly planned, the economy will prosper as it has done in the United States and the United Kingdom. This will also improve people’s quality of life,” he said. Isara Vongkusolkit, chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the economy could not be detached from politics and stability was important for long-term business planning. He noted that it was difficult to explain the current situation to businesspeople, investors or ambassadors and believed that dialogue was a good start to achieving reconciliation. Thai Bankers Association secretary-general Twatchai Yongkittikul asserted that the current political impasse was of grave concern to the private sector. A number of influential political figures have already joined the reform council. They are former prime minister Banharn Silapa-archa, patriarch and chief adviser of the coalition Chart Thai Pattana Party; former deputy prime minister Suwat Liptapanlop, de facto leader of the coalition Chart Pattana Party; ex-PM Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, who retains close ties with the ruling Pheu Thai Party; former Democrat Party leader Bhichai Rattakul; former Senate Speaker Ukrit Mongkolnavin, who chairs the government-appointed Independent National Rule of Law Commission; Senate Speaker Nikom Wairatpanij; Kramol Tongdhamachart, former head of the Constitutional Court that ruled in favour of Thaksin in 2001 in the asset-concealment case; former House Speaker Uthai Pimchaichon; Sontaya Kunplome, culture minister and Phalang Chon leader; opposition Bhum Jai Thai Party leader Anutin Charnvirakul; 2006 coup leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin; and Gothom Arya, director of Mahidol University’s Research Centre for Peace Building. In other developments, three influential private-sector organisations agreed to join the government-initiated political reform council.
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