AP reports that “Thailand’s Constitutional Court defused a potential political crisis Friday by dismissing a complaint that the ruling party’s attempt to amend the constitution amounted to plotting to overthrow the monarchy.” That’s only partly true.
The reason we say this is because, while the court dismissed the complete nonsense charge, it has maintained that the 2007 constitution cannot be changed without a referendum. This is simply a defense of a constitution put in place by the military junta to defend the royalist political order. It is also a decision that is devoid of any constitutional backing, not even in the military’s constitution.
The result is that the Constitutional Court has done exactly what it was expected to do: it has turned aside all of the statements by politicians, constitution drafters, the military junta, its government and even some of the court’s own members that the constitution could be changed after elections (in 2007).
Thailand’s undemocratic constitution is being propped up for the same reason it was established: to protect the royalist order.
The idea that the court decided that “the charter could be amended section by section, though it could not be entirely rewritten” is splitting hairs.
That charter amendment was “to topple the constitutional monarchy,” was said by the court to be “merely speculation…”. Of course it was, but the point was always to protect this undemocratic constitution, and the court has done that.
In addition, as Puea Thai’s Korkaew Pikulthong states, “the decision set a bad precedent,” by allowing the court “to intervene in the affairs of the legislative branch.” That precedent will be exploited endlessly by the corrupt and biased judiciary.
The Bangkok Post reports that the court’s ruling is “likely to halt the the Pheu Thai Party’s attempt to push the bill through its third reading in parliament.” That was the plan.
Despite the court dismissing a charge that the bill to amend the charter was an attempt to overthrow the constitutional monarchy, it also stated that the 2007 constitution was endorsed by a public referendum, so any attempt to abolish it and rewrite a new one should be approved in a similar fashion.
This is nonsense, but the court will defend this into the cuture, limiting efforts to alter the undemocratic charter. And, by making a ruling that was as clear as mud, any party trying to change the constitution or amend it is in a legal minefield. And, of course, the ultra-royalists will now be able to fight every amendment.
Worachet Pakeerut of Nitirat agreed “the court’s verdict was still problematic in many respects.” Worachet is right to insist,
that the charter rewrite process was an exercise of power by parliament as stipulated by Section 291. It had nothing to do with Section 68, which deals with the right to protect the charter. The court did not clarify this issue in its verdict….
He questioned why the court had to forbid the entire charter from being rewritten when it had ruled that the charter rewrite bill was not intended as an attempt to overthrow the democratic administration of the country.
The court’s logic appears to contradict itself, Mr Worachet said.
And the court has over-reached its powers more than once. Worachet refers to an “an improper precedent and this means any future charter amendments must be taken to the court first…”. That was also the plan.