Too little, too late

21 07 2016

There are just 16 days before the junta’s referendum on the military’s draft charter. So far, the military junta has been insistent that there is no detailed discussion of their charter. More insistently, the junta has actively and nastily prevented campaigning for a No vote. Hundreds have been detained, arrested and threatened.VOTE NO

The Bangkok Post reports that a group of “members of political parties and civil society are intensifying calls for open talks on the draft constitution…”.

With only a couple of weeks left, this seems much too little and much too late.

Yes, they have done it before. They have been ignored by the regime. Again making the call for open discussion is unlikely to influence the junta and is likely to have the same negative outcome.

It is all very well for the so-called civil society group of 117 individuals and 16 organizations to issue a “five-point joint statement” that argues for “the need for all stakeholders to be allowed to debate the contents of the charter with comprehensive and thorough information and for them to have a safe public space to do so.”

Yet these groups remain locked within the logic of the junta’s illegitimate process. The military’s charter began in an illegal process, has been developed by the junta’s minions and acolytes, rejecting all public input and the referendum on a whole constitution, scores of pages long is both dozy and a ridiculous scam.

When they beg for “the constitution must safeguard human rights and civil liberties, allow for checks-and-balance mechanisms, and address reforms and the decentralisation of power,” they ignore the junta’s blatant disregard for and trashing of all these processes and principles. Requesting the wolf not to kill and eat the sheep is probably useless.

The same group “also demanded to know if there are any alternatives to the draft if it does not pass the referendum…. This is to facilitate a transition to democratic rule as specified in the road map and the [junta’s] interim constitution.”

Again, they are operating within the junta’s (il)logic.

In any case, hasn’t the junta already told the public what happens if there is a No vote? We read that chief junta minion Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam “said that if the majority of voters reject the draft charter in the referendum, then the interim charter would have to be amended.” That is to allow for “the drafting of another constitution or the drafting timeframe…”.

In other words, more of the same. More repression, more threats, more Article 44, more lese majeste, more junta.