Now that the Constitution Drafting Committee has pretty much agreed to incorporate all of the military junta’s demands, the draft charter is almost complete. The Dictator has flicked through it and agreed that he won’t demand any more changes for the moment.
The Bangkok Post reports that the junta’s constitution writers “have wrapped up the final draft, with a promise a general election will be on track to take place in July 2017 as planned.” Apparently, the “only wildcard now is whether it will be endorsed in the referendum…”.
That’s quite a wildcard!
The Nation reports that Meechai Ruchupan, the aged military functionary and chairman of the Constitution Drafting Commission (CDC), is “confident that people will back the new constitution in August referendum.” Not just accept it, but “easily accept” it.
This depended on only listening to the Yes campaign, reading the reprehensible draft (in the comic book format) and not being “swayed by people attempting to distort what is in the document.”
All of this is fetid horse manure. Getting a Yes vote depends entirely on repression and coercion.
The draft is a manifesto for anti-democrats and the fascist and royalist alliance of palace and military. And, there’s no need to distort the draft charter as it destroys its own credibility by being a charter drawn up on military orders, drafted by the military’s puppets and by entrenching military political dominance for years to come.
The claim that “there would be no more coups if everyone followed the rules laid out in the new charter” is precisely because the military remains in charge. The only chance of a coup would be due to intra-military rivalry.
It is indeed highly suspicious that the military and its minions seem confident about the referendum passing. So confident are they that all of the puppets currently dancing for the military junta (and those in the junta itself) are being told they must “resign from their positions within 90 days after the constitution came into effect if they wished to run in a national election…”. That’s the National Legislative Assembly and the National Reform Steering Assembly.
Our suspicion is that, not only will the propaganda be heavy, but all opposition voices will be excluded. Expect celebrities, palace-connected personalities, Sino-Thai tycoons and “statesmen” to be mobilized as happy supporters of the military junta’s charter. Also expect claims that those who support elections and democracy must support the charter or face a junta for longer (this was a feature of the 2007 referendum campaign).
In addition, as it did when it embarked on its coup in 2014, the military has a plan that will mobilize its supporters and keep opponents from the polls. This doesn’t involve demonstrators like the Suthep Thaugsuban mobs, but military repression and a heavy presence of troops to enforce a positive result for the junta.