The Dictator is getting what he wants, at least from the new Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) chairman Meechai Ruchupan. As we noted yesterday, Meechai apparently has the new, draft constitution pretty much done, after only a couple of days on the job. Not bad for an old codger, but then he has a records for copying drafts from old military constitutions used in the past.
Democracy is essentially a thing of the past for Thailand. Meechai declared that only “some” so-called democratic features “will still be retained in the new charter such as elections, elected MPs and an elected government…”. On the bright side, at least this means Thailand is not reverting to an absolute monarchy.
Meechai gave assurances that the CDC will aim to “design a democracy that is best suited to the country and to the Thai people and insist they will not copy models of democracy from other countries…”. On the dark side, this means “Thai-style democracy.” As we have noted many times, this means no democracy at all.
For Meechai, Thai-style democracy means “a non-elected outsider will be allowed to become prime minister under the new constitution.” He argues that parliament will be able to nominate a premier who is not a member of parliament, observing that “the constitutions of more than 60 democratic countries do not require a prime minister to be an elected MP, whereas the charters of about 20 democratic countries stipulate a premier must be an elected MP.” This is more or less true, but parliament must operate under appropriate democratic principles, not as some kind of deformed club designed by a military cabal.
The elitist in Meechai worries about parliament picking what he calls a “nobody” MP to lead government: “What if the House chooses an MP who is a chauffeur and a nominee acting on behalf of someone to become a prime minister…”. The idea of a non-elected PM is essentially an anti-Thaksin Shinawatra clause to be added to the military dictatorship’s constitution.
In other unrepresentative plans, Meechai declares that the Senate is unlikely to be elected.
He also indicated that the parliament may not be permitted to change this junta’s constitution once it is promulgated.
Meechai said “the new constitution [will be] short and ‘dynamic’ without too much detail.” It looks like he plans to go back to earlier military constitutions for his old ideas revived.
Thailand is going back, way back.