Speculating on the end of the draft charter

8 09 2015

Social media and the mainstream media is alive with speculation about the reasons for the junta turning on its own draft charter.

Such speculation is warranted when it is considered that the military dictatorship was established to repress opponents of elite rule and, ostensibly, to change the political rules to maintain that hegemony into the future. They did this with a handpicked set of charter drafters and committees who came up with an appropriately anti-democratic and elite-dominated set of rules. So why ditch it?

Successionists speculate that the real reason for the 2014 coup was to manage succession. However, the continued life in the royal body means that succession is still and issue and the military brass worries that it needs to control the royal passing and the new king.

Some suggest that the military brass got cold feet as a referendum on the draft charter loomed, knowing it could not pass, especially after “the mistake.”

Others add to this view, saying the military brass feared that a referendum could unleash “conflict.” Of course, the military is adept at silencing dissent and purging the civil and military bureaucracies but its leaders remain unconvinced that they have crushed opposition and feel they need more time to do this.

With paid servant of the military Wissanu Krea-ngam explaining that it is now at least 20 months to the promised election, quite a few speculate that The Dictator just wants to extend his tenure as a rambunctious and unpredictable premier.

(We recall that in May 2014, the junta announced that it would be at least 15 months before an election. That has now changed to be at least 35.5 months.)

Interestingly, at Prachatai, the Neo-Democracy group has declared that “the junta … step down after the 2015 charter draft was rejected on Sunday, saying that the junta only wants to hold on to its power.” The group stated that the “junta was only putting up a show to convince people that it maintains the rule of law, but the regime’s intention is only to maintain power.”

The group promised to continue its activism against the military dictatorship.

Another line is from the anti-democrat clique. Despite their one-time leader Suthep Thaugsuban saying the draft charter was “good enough,” the reform-before-election and root-out-the-Thaksin-regime anti-democrats claim success in pressuring the junta to drop the “early” election.

PPT is not convinced by any single explanation for the dumping of the anti-democratic draft, but can see something in each of these explanations and feel that the collective cold feet in the military junta emanated from all these fears, concerns and desires.


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