Criticism of the draft anti-democratic constitution

7 05 2015

While the military dictatorship is desperately attempting to limit debate and even discussion of its draft constitution to puppet assemblies, the anti-democratic nature of the charter draft is causing widespread concern.

Internationally, a range of criticism has been reported, in quite different sources.

At the World Socialist Web Site, the military dictatorship is described as a “US-backed regime.” This seems a bit of an ideological over-stretch given that recent events would permit it to be called a China-backed or Russian-backed regime. The claim that the military dictatorship “intends to stay in control indefinitely, despite proposing to hold elections next year” might be a little more accurate, although the ways in which this might be handled ned nuanced analysis.

The WSWS is on very firm ground when it states that the “aim of the new constitution is to strip elected politicians of any power” and in claiming that the “Bangkok-based ruling elites—the military, the monarchy and their supporters in the state bureaucracy—want to ensure that the Pheu Thai Party, led by Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, never regains office.”

The draft constitution is criticized for making the the preserve of “appointees close to the military and the bureaucracy”;  for having parliament “policed by a new National Ethics Assembly, authorised to remove MPs from office for ‘moral’ or ‘ethical’ reasons”; and for having provisions that allow the “generals … continue to wield power through a National Reform Steering Committee, which will set the legislative agenda for parliament to rubber-stamp.”

Meanwhile, at the Voice of America, the reporting is “even-handed,” giving space to junta sock puppet Panitan Wattanayagorn who appears to challenge the political parties, saying they “could mount a serious challenge to the draft before it is scheduled to be finalized in August.” He babbles that the path of the draft charter is “not going to be smooth, especially with Pheu Thai members, because they saw themselves as the losers in this constitution. The (former opposition) Democrats are not the same but still they are not happy because the constitution is aimed to reduce their power – at least to create more equal balance…”. We aren’t sure we know exactly what he means in the last phrase, but he probably doesn’t either.

The VOA agrees that the charter “weaken[s] the influence of major political parties, creating a greater need for coalition governments.” It quotes official red shirt leader Thida Tawornsate Tojirakarn who says “it’s not a charter of democracy. They don’t want to ask the people before they can use this charter. They don’t want to have the strong party, the strong government. And especially you see the prime minister can come from other people, not the MP (member of parliament)…”.

Meanwhile, anti-democrat Kraisak Choonhavan, a member of the Democrat Party, states that the lack of support from political parties means “that the constitution will have to rewritten again and that would mean a longer stay for the military junta…”. That could be seen as a threat to the parties – accept the draft or you get the military thugs for longer.

One way or another, the royalist elite and the military keep a grip on power and a foot on the neck of Thailand’s majority.


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