May is the new February

18 03 2018

Some well-connected members of the puppet National Legislative Assembly seem to be seeking another three months of “election” delay, effectively from February to May.

Six days after the NLA passed the organic bills on members of the Assembly and Senators, junta legal lackey and long-time anti-democrat “Meechai Ruchupan, the head constitution writer who helped draft them, suggested the NLA send the two bills to the Constitutional Court first to ensure they were completely sound.”

Military servant Meechai “expressed doubts about the reconciled bills, saying some parts were drastically different from the versions his team drafted, to the point they could be unconstitutional.”

As a result, the “NLA decided on Thursday to partially take … Meechai’s advice by sending only the senators bill to the Constitutional Court.”

We calculate the “delay” as meaning 5 years of military dictatorship.

Updated: Pro-election junta vs. pro-election activists

9 03 2018

Not all elections are equal and nor are calls for elections considered equal. In the land of the double standard, consider the cases of “pro-election” protesters and the (now, for the moment) “pro-election” junta.

The Nation reports that some 50 “pro-election protesters have reported themselves to police and denied all charges filed against them.” Forty-three reported en masse on Thursday and seven others had reported earlier. It remains unclear if prosecutors will indict them for their 10 February rally calling for an election in November, as previously “promised” by The Dictator.

These pro-election people are “charged with violating a junta ban on political gatherings and the law on public assembly.”

Meanwhile, the junta’s puppet National Legislative Assembly has passed “two organic bills on electing MPs and selecting senators…”. That should help clear the way for an election well before the end of this year (90 days to royal assent + 150 days to election). In other words, in an odd way, the junta’s NLA is pro-election. (Yet the NLA has also delayed any “election” until February.)

The NLA’s anti-election baton is now likely to be passed elsewhere.

The linked article says that many “critics are still fretting about further possible delays…” beyond February. It could be that the “Constitutional Court elects to challenge the legality of the two bills.” A big rumor on some social media is that the queen is on her last legs, and her death could cause a long delay.

Update: Thai PBS reports that “[p]ublic prosecutor has decided not to prosecute 28 pro-election demonstrators, reasoning that their prosecution would not be in the public interest.” That decision has to be ratified by the Office of the Attorney-General.

Two protesters had already “confessed” before this decision and have been fined and sentenced to a six day suspended jail term each. The report states that the “case against the nine leaders [of the protest for elections] are still ongoing.”

Updated: New election promise

27 02 2018

The junta is feeling oodles of political pressure. Around 48 hours after The Nation reported that The Dictator decreed that he “will call a meeting of relevant parties to discuss and decide an appropriate and acceptable date for the next general election,” he’s set a date himself.

The Bangkok Post reports that “[Gen] Prayut Chan-o-cha has said the general election will be held no later than February next year.” That was the time “granted” by the National Legislative Assembly to its bosses in the junta.

We wonder if that is sufficient time for the junta to manufacture the dissolution of the Puea Thai Party?

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that politicians are underwhelmed by The Dictator’s “promise.” It states: “Reaction to the sixth ‘promise’ by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to hold an election has been greeting mostly with scorn, doubt and criticism.” It quotes politicians:

Deputy Democrat Party leader Nipit Intarasombat told the Bangkok Post he has stopped believing in Gen Prayut’s election pledges.

“From what he has said recently, we can’t believe what he says right now. His comments are no longer trustworthy,” Mr Nipit said.

Chaturon Chaisaeng, a key figure in the Pheu Thai Party … said Gen Prayut has lost all of his credibility after promising election dates and then failing to honour those commitments.

He said the regime was attempting to shore up its power so it can remain at the helm after the election.

Updated: Another excuse for delaying the junta’s election?

23 02 2018

Can the junta have its “election” without a new Election Commission?

We are not sure what the answer is, but we were staggered by the report in Prachatai that:

On 22 February 2018, the junta’s National Legislative Assembly voted to reject the seven candidates for new Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). A candidate must receive at least 124 votes to secure a seat in the ECC.

The candidate who received the highest votes is Takorn Tantasith, Secretary-General of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission, but he got only 57 votes in favour. (The Bangkok Post says he only got 27 votes and that the highest was former deputy permanent secretary for interior Pracha Terat who got a measly 57 votes.)

The Bangkok Post says the failure of this “secret ballot” means the whole search process has to start anew and within 90 days. It does not say how long the process is likely to take.

A source in the NLA said all candidates possessed the qualifications required in the Constitution, but they had no experience in handling elections. None were trusted by the NLA to be EC members, the source added.

So is the junta being sabotaged by the NLA? Or is this another ploy to delay elections? Can an election be held with the old commissioners in place?

Update: According to the Bangkok Post, “Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam gave assurances yesterday that the NLA’s rejection of all the EC candidates would not push back the general election…”. He did say it “might affect local elections.” He reportedly claimed that “new EC members would be appointed within 90 days and possibly even before June when the lifting of the ban on political activities is expected ahead of elections for local administrative organisations…”. Let’s see.

Election (and) time and “deadlines”

8 02 2018

The general election will take place after all election-related laws are promulgated. That’s the word from The Dictator. But don’t ask him when that will be. Unbelievably, not least because the laws are all being considered by handpicked junta hacks and cronies, General Prayuth Chan-ocha is now coy on a date. Are we the only ones who think this is a political strategy by the junta to hold onto power for as long as possible.

This non-announcement came as Prayuth campaigned for his junta in Chanthaburi.

The various puppet assemblies are now engaged on such minutiae that it seems that the National Legislative Assembly and the Constitution Drafting Committee are seeking to make decisions about the most insignificant matters.

Delaying tactics and no deadline.

The other deadline, according to the Bangkok Post is for Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan “to submit a third statement explaining all the luxury watches spotted on his wrist expires Wednesday…”. A third explanation? Another delaying tactic, this time by the seemingly corrupt National Anti-Corruption Commission.

The NACC is said to have written to Gen Prawit on 24 January “asking him to explain the watches but has so far received no response from the deputy premier.” We thought they had written to him in December when the scandal broke.

The NACC claims it has “interviewed four people reportedly linked to the watches and received good cooperation.” It says it will complete its investigation by the end of the month. That sounds like a deadline.

We can hardly wait.

Lies and elections

4 02 2018

A junta spokesman has declared that his bosses are “confident the international community will understand the reason behind the postponement of a national election.”

Deputy Government Spokesperson Lt Gen Werachon Sukondhapatipak explained that the junta’s minions are “informing the world community of a possible delay in holding the next election…”.

They won’t be telling the truth.

Rather, The Dictator’s rather daft sounding “explanation” is used, trying to have all and sundry believe that the junta “had nothing to do with the postponement, as the National Legislative Assembly acted on its own to defer the enforcement of the Organic Members of Parliament Act by 90 days, hence resulting in a likely delay in the national poll.”

Now this is the junta’s hand-picked puppet NLA they are talking about. Suggesting that there is any separation of power in Thailand under the military dictatorship is buffalo manure.

Also twisting the truth is the horrid Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai. He “says no countries have inquired about the possible change in the timing of the election.” We guess his emphasis is on “country,” as everyone knows that the European Union Representative exploded.

Its 2019, maybe

25 01 2018

The junta’s “election” is likely to be held by February 2019 as the puppet National Legislative Assembly continues to dawdle on necessary laws.

The puppets “voted 196 to 12 to pass the draft organic bill with 14 abstentions” to the delaying proposal by an NLA panel which vetted the organic bill on the election of MPs.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam insisted the government had nothing to do with the puppet NLA’s proposal and “denied rumours the planned election might be even postponed for another one or two years.”

He also said “he could not guarantee a precise election date …[and] did not rule out the possibility that the general election would be pushed back for another one or two months…”.