Readers will not be surprised to learn at The Nation a few days ago that the military-royalist appointees are trying to get control of the Senate Speaker’s position. The undemocratic constitution, put in place in 2007 by the military junta’s flunkies, changed the Senate from an elected body to one that is essentially half appointed by a coterie of royalist judges and notables. This arrangement was meant to be the royalist elite’s fix to ensure that the parliament didn’t engage in any further dangerous democratization.
On 6 August, the Senate is due to select a new Speaker. The report says the politicking for the position is “an intense affair, with appointed senators and their elected counterparts wrestling for control…”. The unelected lot are desperate to retain control of this position. Their job is to control the Senate and, hence, the parliament on any “big deal” legislation. As The Nation’s informant says: “Control of the Senate is essential because it is a key influence in deciding how two contentious issues, reconciliation and charter change, will unfold…”.
The unelected royalist and military flunkies say the “next speaker should be a politically neutral figure.” But this is aberrant political drivel. The appointed senators are the tools of the military and establishment and we can think of none who could be described as “neutral.”
The Nation report says that there are “three main cliques in the Senate”: (1) the so-called Group of 40; (2) the opposition to that group; and (3) the 50 to 60 senators who remain unaligned.
This is misleading. The group of 40 are diehard ultra-royalists, and a few of these are elected. They are always going to oppose the current government. Almost the entire bunch of appointed senators will usually coalesce against the current government. This means that maintaining an “anti-Thaksin” and pro-establishment Senate demands control of the speaker’s position.