PPT is late posting on this, partly because we have been busy but also because this news is exactly as expected. The military junta demands; it gets.
The Bangkok Post reports that the military “junta will hand-pick all 250 senators, to be screened by a selection panel, also appointed by it…”.
We have said several times that the “debate” with the Meechai Ruchupan and the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) was a ruse. The “debate” was over which version of an undemocratic senate was best. The ones comfortable in suits wanted a more civilianized senate and the military junta wanted more uniforms. There was little difference as the main task of the senate is to prevent any elected government actually governing.
The “resolution” is that a “selection panel” that will be appointed by the junta will “nominate 400 names to the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which will handpick 194.”
That is, the junta’s committee picks a bunch of junta-aligned nominees and the junta chooses its favorites.
Why 194? Two reasons. First, six places are reserved for military an police bosses. The other 50 senators will be from undemocratic selection via functional constituencies. Even there, the junta will choose the final 50 senators from 200 thrown up from the various “professional groups.”
The outcome is that the senate will, for at least five years, be a tool of the junta that ran the 2014 military coup.
The next step is to plan for a military leader, from the junta, to become prime minister. That will complete the “reform” mission, which has, all along, been to prevent elected politicians playing any significant role in governing Thailand.
Update: We were wrong. The point made immediately above has already been sorted out by the CDC and its military masters. The Bangkok Post reports that its draft now allows for a vote of both houses to “overrule the constitutional requirement that a PM must come from political parties’ lists…”. The vote would require the agreement of two thirds of the two houses. Once this is done, the lower house is meant to choose the premier.
Meechai also showed himself to have caught the junta habit of being a comedian. He stated, apparently keeping a straight face, that: “We have taken orders from several people who told us to change this or that in the draft, but we’ve never taken any from the NCPO…”.
We found a photo of Meechai as he made this statement.