Waiting for the royal decree, repressing and cheating

18 01 2019

The guessing game about the missing royal decree and the election date continues.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam has joined in, slapping the Election Commission back in its place, proclaiming that “March 24 would be the most suitable poll date compared to other potential dates such as March 3, 10, and 17. The earlier dates do not leave enough time for election campaigning…”.

Recall that when the royal decree did not emerge on 2 January, as promised by the junta, the junta repeatedly stated that the EC was responsible for choosing a date. Now it seems that’s not the case.

Interestingly, Wissanu also loudly declared that he “believed the royal decree calling for the election of MPs is likely to be announced in the Royal Gazette next week.”

Let’s see.

A footnote to this suggested date is “if the poll is held on March 24, the EC will have less than 60 days to endorse at least 95% of the poll results.”This, some say, may leave the EC with “little time to investigate election law violation cases and issue yellow or red cards to election candidates and poll winners who violate the poll regulations.”

That may suit the junta and its devil parties.

Meanwhile, the junta’s security authorities are honing the skills they developed during the rigged 2016 constitutional referendum.

A Prachatai report recounts a story of “people claiming to be plain-clothes Special Branch police officers” seeking to limit the political freedoms and participation of those the junta considers opponents.

Mimicking the repression and silencing of 2016, the plainclothes men”visited Body Fashion (Thailand) Ltd., Bangplee Industrial Estate, Samut Prakan Province” where they demanded access to three “Triumph International Thailand Labour Union members: Konchanok Thanakhun, Tueanchai Waengkha and Pimai Ratwongsa.”

These officers were intent on letting the unionists know that they are under surveillance. They wanted to “discourage” the unionists from participating in pro-election protests. In another action of intimidation, they took photos of the unionists.

The unionists had previously been arrested in 2016 after they “campaigned with members of the New Democracy Movement and distributed leaflets providing information on the constitution referendum.”

Cheating, lying, rigging and repression seems normal for the military junta.