Embattled premier General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh yesterday threw his political weight behind a draft constitution intended to drastically reduce political corruption. He appealed to the nation not to go to battle over the document, which MPs begin debating tomorrow. General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, in an unusual interview on national television, revealed for the first time that he would back the charter. 'I have always supported it and support it up until now,' he said of the charter, which Parliament will put to the vote on September 26 and which urban residents - especially in Bangkok - are desperate to see pass into law. Asked whether the country was divided into 'yes' and 'no' camps over the document, the Prime Minister said: 'No, we have only one choice - to help each other to co-operate to develop the new constitution.' He said he was dismayed by some articles in the draft, 'but it does not mean I will not agree with the constitution'. Finance Minister Thanong Bidaya said the Prime Minister's backing meant 'practically nobody would vote against it'. Even as the two men were speaking, the money-politicians who dominate Parliament were embracing a controversial proposal to take the sting out of the draft. Rather than reject the constitution outright - and risk street protests by a sickened public - MPs are engaged in furious back-room plans to water it down. 'This is very dangerous. People see the constitution as their last hope of getting good, clean government - they are in no mood for these games,' said Likhit Dhiravegindra, a prominent lawyer and constitutional expert. Under the current constitution, MPs can only reject or approve the entire draft in a vote scheduled for later this month. But Samak Sundaravej, a right-wing deputy premier in the six-party coalition, has proposed amending the existing constitution so that Parliament is allowed to rejig the new draft. Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, Bokhin Polakula, said the Government would try to gauge the public mood during the debate. It is likely the coalition will attempt to justify its moves by arguing that certain parts of the highly technical draft compromise the revered King Bhumibol Adulyadej's status. One threat to the new constitution was removed when Interior Minister Snoh Thienthong yesterday said provincial governors had orders to stop village headmen and sub-district chiefs from gathering as planned in Bangkok to oppose the draft. It had been feared their presence could lead to a clash with pro-charter groups. Army Chief of Staff General Charn Boonprasert denied reports he had warned of a possible military coup if the country's political and economic crisis persisted.