PPT has sometimes commented on the slippery slope to authoritarianism. Thailand since the coup has seen the slide become a free fall. The military dictatorship has almost total control yet The Dictator and his military junta remain prickly and desire that the their control to be absolute.
This is one reason why, reported at Khaosod, The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha blubbered about having:
endured it [mild media criticism] for a long time now. They [the media] criticise me on every issue, every page of the newspapers. What the hell is wrong with them? Are they crazy?… I get angry [every time] I read these newspapers. They made me lose my manner and have ruined my leader image.”
We can well imagine that Prayuth is ticked off for he is surrounded by rump-buffing sycophants and is unused to criticism.
Having been socialized in a corrupt, elite-serving and fascist organization like the Army, his response to this is entirely predictable: “I will shut them down…. I cannot allow them to continue their disrespect. Otherwise, what’s the point of me being [Prime Minister]? What’s the point of having martial law?”
Prayuth is supported by another military man used to getting his own way. General Prawit Wongsuwan blathers about the junta’s mission of “national reconciliation” as the junta locks increasing numbers of opponents in its jails. Like children in tantrum mood, Prayuth and Prawit complain that some media agencies “… like to ask about things that cause disputes. They really like doing it. They never ask constructive questions. They like to pick up fights. I don’t know what’s wrong with them.”
What’s wrong is the incapacity of military dictators to understand a normal society where political disputation is normal and positive. Dictators believe that only they know what’s best for the nation.
Part of the reason for wanting total control and for only The Dictator’s voice to be hears is that the “reform” of politics is getting to the point where the military’s preferred anti-democratic proposals for the new constitution are being promoted. Related, the military dictatorship needs to manage the succession of an unpopular king.
A series of reports make it clear that the junta is still seeking to have a reform that is nothing more than an embedding of undemocratic politics.
At The Nation, it is reported that the preference for an appointed senate is again being heavily promoted. In Thailand’s troubled parliamentary politics, the military has always dominated appointed senates, preventing elected politicians from ruling.
Constitution drafters want a “super power” and fully appointed senate, giving the appointed military puppets “the power to scrutinise ministerial candidates…”. This is in addition to the powers this unelected swill had under the military’s 2007 Constitution “to impeach the prime minister, ministers and top officials.”
The junta’s puppet Constitution Drafting Committee has “decided that there would be a maximum of 200 senators appointed from five social groups.”
The royalists, fascists and military will falsely assert that this will make the unelected senate “more inclusive.” In the best tradition of Orwellian doublespeak, the military and its minions will use fine sounding terms to describe their attempt to maintain power and control.
Also at The Nation, it is reported that the quite ludicrous Election Commission will “no longer have the role of organising elections…” not because the EC is hopelessly partisan, but simply to put the elections back in the hands of the dependable election riggers at the Ministry of Interior and other centrally-controlled agencies.
The EC will only be charged with rubber-stamping the election result and banning candidates who “commit unlawful acts,” such as becoming too popular.
EC commissioners will be “selected” by a committee made up of trusty judges and other establishment types.
Meanwhile, serial constitution drafter and military-royalist boot licker Borwornsak Uwanno has “defended the decision to allow a non-elected MP to be chosen as prime minister.”
This option has always been the preferred one for the military dictatorship and its anti-democrat supporters. As PPT has long pointed out, a non-elected premier is the Prem-era option that promises military control of politics for years to come.
Bowornsak knows that the military and royalist fossils reckons political crises can be avoided if there is a non-elected premier: “We all know that the May 22 coup was caused by a deadlock, as the previous constitution did not allow a candidate outside Parliament to resolve the political impasse…”.
If the fossils actually looked at the period, they’d know that when Prem was premier, with the total support of the palace, he still faced considerable opposition.
Borwornsak also pointed out the critical position of the monarchy in this anti-democratic movement when he stated that “the CDC promised not to expose the country’s main institutions – nationhood, religion and the monarchy – to any risk like the proposal for direct election of the PM. A directly elected PM and cabinet would make the government too strong and vulnerable to become authoritarian…”.
No elected politician can be allowed to become “too popular,” especially with an unpopular monarch about to take the throne.
Of course, any political observer with an ounce of sense knows that these proposals are meant to perpetuate the authoritarian power of hierarchical institutions. Dopes like former unelected swill senator Kamnoon Sidhisamarn, also cited in a story at The Nation, lies when he claims “the drafters were not writing the charter to perpetuate the continuance in power of junta chief General Prayut Chan-o-cha after the next election.”
It may not be The Dictator, but if not, it will be someone very much like him. This is a blatant military grab for power, not unlike 1991.