The big news for the day, already predicted by the media, is that the military dictatorship’s draft charter has been dumped by the military junta’s puppet National Reform Council.
Update 1: According to the Bangkok Post, “The National Reform Council on Sunday voted 135-105 with seven abstentions to reject the draft constitution.” While some of those opposing the military dictatorship will be pleased with the dumping of an anti-democratic charter, it seems the real force behind the defeat was the military itself. As the Post states, “the rejection of the draft charter was as expected following heavy lobbying during the past week, reportedly by NRC members closely linked to the military.”
Because the draft charter has been voted down, the National Reform Council’s term ends and a new 21-memeber charter drafting committee will be established charged with coming up with a new draft within 6 months. That has to be followed within another 4 months by a referendum. This timetable provides the military dictatorship with ample scope for further repression over a long period.
Update 2: As regular readers will know, we are no fans of lawyer for sale Bowornsak Uwanno, the chief author of the now ditched draft charter. The Nation reports that Bowornsak, feeling rejected, has stated that “he would not return as a new Constitution drafter.” He seemed to think that the clause “highlighting the power of the people … would be deleted” by a new drafting committee. Maybe, but that statement meant almost nothing in a draft charter that promised to embed dozens of anti-democratic provisions. He did “thank” the “three generals who voted for the draft. On the other NRC members representing the military and voting No, he said it was natural for them to respect orders.”