Replacing the king II

17 01 2016

In an earlier post PPT commented on how the Constitutional Court was being set up in the draft constitution in ways that transferred some of the king’s formal and “informal” political power to the court.

The idea is that the current monarch could (kind of) be trusted to do the right thing by the elite that craves economic and social power. No one is exactly sure where the next king will take things, so the institutionalization of elite political desires is the strategy for insuring the future. This doesn’t mean dumping the monarchy, just making sure that political power doesn’t depend on an undependable monarch (and the Chakris have had a few).

It seems that the royalist charter manipulators are doing even more to ensure the stability of the social, political and economic order. The Nation reports that other “independent agencies” are being given additional power.

Of course, none of these agencies are in fact “independent” as all are controlled by the royalists.

The charter fixers have decided that the Election Commission, National Anti-Corruption Commission and Auditor-General can be “more proactive under the new charter and free to initiate inquiries without complaints being filed…”.

Considering the sometimes extra-legal roles these organizations have played in bringing down several elected governments, this is likely to be seen by royalists as a great move. For anyone with any remaining hope for Thailand’s democratization, this will be a bitter blow.

Constitution Drafting Commission chairman Meechai Ruchupan says that these unelected bodies “could give warnings to the Cabinet in cases where its policies or actions could potentially cause trouble for the country.” In other words, elected governments will always be overruled by unelected royalists.

This “warning” would be “a resolution of all three commissions,” and while a government could ignore the warning, the failure to heed the warning would certainly see the government fall. This is the “crisis committee” in the sense that a warning would create a crisis. A crisis could be created from a media report that one of the agencies decided to “investigate.”

Meechai said the ” independent agencies” would not be subject to any scrutiny. According to Meechai, they would “check themselves” through “a legal code on ethics.” Just for a bit of extra elite control, this “code” would also be applied to “parliamentarians and the Cabinet.”

Elected politicians simply cannot be trusted because they respond to the riff-raff who elect them.

In line with this, The Nation also reports that MPs and Cabinet members can be banned for life from politics if they are “found to have proposed a motion concerning annual state budgets in favour of other members…”. They will be removed from office and also “have to repay the money spent in relation to the project or projects they had voted for…”. More draconian, if the “malpractice concerned a particular Cabinet member, the whole Cabinet could be subject to removal from office as well.”

Exactly how this might be defined and who would decide on a breach is not explained except that another group of unelected royalists will come up with “the principles of financial discipline” to regulate government spending.

In essence, as we predicted some time ago, the idea is that elected politicians will not be able to campaign on a policy platform and implement it without the approval of the unelected.


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19 01 2016
The crisis panel (again) | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] the draft constitution is putting in place unlected and unrepresentative bodies that can bring down a government or direct it for elite interests, much as royal intervention has been able to do in the past. The […]

19 01 2016
The crisis panel (again) | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] the draft constitution is putting in place unlected and unrepresentative bodies that can bring down a government or direct it for elite interests, much as royal intervention has been able to do in the past. The […]