In our last post, PPT indicated how observers think the future of “big” parties is limited. Indeed, we happen to think that the future of all political parties – except, perhaps, a military party – is limited. This is because the military junta has “arranged” a political and electoral systems in a manner that diminishes the role of political parties by reducing popular sovereignty.
The main “electoral” game will revolve around the unelected senate, to be appointed by the junta. The Bangkok Post reports on this. It states:
The 250 seats to be offered in the Senate under the new constitution have sparked a frenzy of lobbying as hopefuls jockey for position long before any of the posts are ready to be decided. The organic law that is needed to complete the promulgation of the Senate laws is also far from complete.
The 250 members of the Upper House, appointed by the junta, will play a key role along with the House of Representatives in the selection of a prime minister during the country’s post-election five-year transition to democracy.
In effect, elections are now replaced by intra-elite lobbying.
The military junta will appoint 194 senate members and select 50 more from another pool of candidates who will represent 20 professional groups. Another six seats are “reserved for the chiefs of the three armed forces and the Supreme Command, the defence permanent secretary and the police chief.”
The Post reports that “there are several thousand hopefuls eyeing the Senate seats and they are gearing up to lobby the military regime for a favourable nod.” This includes those who have already served the military dictatorship as selected members of the junta’s National Legislative Assembly and the National Reform Steering Assembly. They want another five years of unelected power and influence.
Nepotism and favoritism are likely to be important, along with a need for unquestioned loyalty to The Dictator, the monarchy and the military junta.