Updated: The junta’s political crisis

20 04 2019

A day or so ago, the Bangkok Post reported that “legal expert” to the junta, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam, told the Election Commission that it should seek to have the Constitutional Court delay the date the EC is meant to announce the 95% election result.

We immediately recalled that the “election” itself was delayed years, usually with Wissanu involved in the machinations.

This time, however, Wissanu is fiddling with interpretations of the organic law to allow a delay until 23 May,” giving the EC more room to breathe.” A failure to meet the deadline – whatever it is – “could result in the election being nullified…”.

Clearly, delaying the announcement also gives the junta and Palang Pracharath more time to fiddle with the result and the coalition it is trying to put together.

But what if the court does not even issue rulings before 9 May? When asked “what would happen if the EC fails to endorse the result by May 9,” Wissanu lamely answered: “Let’s figure that out when the time comes…”.

So much of the junta’s “election” has been about figuring stuff out in a manner that seems to favor it and its party.

At The Nation, however, anti-democrat junta supporter Paiboon Nititawan had another suggestion for the junta, seemingly suggesting that it needn’t establish a majority coalition.

He reckons that as the junta’s constitution “stipulates the Senate had the authority to push through national reform,” then make all legislation in the next five years involve “reform.”

While even Wissanu dismissed this, Paiboon’s intervention suggests that the junta’s capacity to put together a coalition is strained and that instability could result, paving the way for a coup.

Future Forward’s Piyabutr Saengkanokkul noted that Paiboon’s suggestion effectively skirted the provisions of the constitution. He asked: “If the principles of the Constitution could be removed, then the election was unnecessary…”.

In the end, that might just be the junta’s solution if things get too difficult and complicated. Just ignore the election result and keep ruling by decree.

Update: Interestingly, the Bank of Thailand is warning that “a possible delay in the formation of a new government” could have a negative economic impact. This warning comes after the Bank had already “revised down the country’s economic growth rate this year from 4% to 3.8%.” The Bank’s Governor stated that a delay “would affect public investment projects and the economy as a whole as it could cause a delay of investment decisions in the private sector, particularly projects under Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) schemes in the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC).”


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1 06 2019
Junta in trouble? | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] response has been a renewed discussion of minority government. This notion was first raised by anti-democrat junta supporter Paiboon Nititawan before the election. He’s pushing the idea […]