Updated: Shaky regime III

20 06 2019

As the junta’s post-junta regime is put together, its foundations are already being undermined, and its moving to shore up those foundations, mainly be preventing scrutiny. That is a strategy that can’t hold for long.

A day or so ago, opposition politicians gave notice that they “plan to file a motion urging the House Speaker to scrutinize the criteria used by the junta to select the 250 senators.” Puea Thai MP Suthin Klangsaeng wants “Parliament to convene a special house committee tasked with looking into the selection procedure, which they fear could have been fraught with favoritism.” He added: ““So far, the process hasn’t been revealed…”.

Almost immediately, it was reported that Senate Speaker and junta puppet Pornpetch Wichitcholchai “insisted on Wednesday the House of Representatives has no authority to probe the qualifications of senators.” As far as we can tell, that’s not the issue; rather it’s the process. But you get the picture.

Taking another tack, “Ruangkrai Leekitwattana, a former member of the dissolved Thai Raksa Chart Party, on Wednesday lodged a petition with the Office of Attorney-General (OAG) asking it to seek a Constitutional Court ruling on the Senate selection process.” We’d expect both the A-G and the Constitutional Court to back the junta.

Meanwhile, trying to protect its shaky foundations, the puppet Palang Pracharath Party “will next week lodge a petition with the Constitutional Court asking it not to temporarily suspend its MPs accused of violating media share-holding rules.” Of course, the Court has already disqualified a Future Forward candidate before the election for the same “crime,” not even allowing him to stand. Expect the Court to drag its feet.

Update: The Bangkok Post reports that the junta proxy party has “asked the Constitutional Court to drop a case against its 27 MPs for allegedly holding media shares on a technicality.” Grasping for all legal straws, Palang Pracharath’s “lawyer Tossapol Pengsom said on Thursday the 66 FFP [Future Forward] MPs who signed the document submitted it as a letter, not as a petition as prescribed by law.” He said: “We view the submission was not done correctly so the case should be dropped…”.





Updated: Cheats cheating I

12 06 2019

As everyone knows, Thailand remains a military dictatorship and no government has yet been formed to replace it. Indeed, in a recent ranking, Thailand was determined as “unfree,” ranking between absolute monarchy Brunei and troubled countries with Zimbabwe and Iraq. The “unfreedom” will continue, with dozens of junta orders being converted into laws that will apply into the future, backing a backward constitution that permitted a rigged election.

That rigging has been a vast and expensive project that could, if unchecked, allow the odious cheat Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha to remain as prime minister for another eight year as the unelected Senate he selected will vote again in four years if Thailand has another election.

The selection of the Senate has been a closely-held secret for months simply because of the thoroughgoing cheating it involved. Because the junta has gotten away with a coup, political repression, corruption, a fake constitutional referendum, a rigged and stolen election and more, it figures nothing can derail it now, so it has released some details of its cheating.

In the selection of The Dictator as premier, we know that every single unelected puppet senator voted for their boss (the Senate president abstained, but would have voted for his longtime boss if necessary).

We now also know that the “reserve list” of 50 senators, “publicized in the Royal Gazette, include Election Commission sec-gen Jarungvith Phumma, foreign minister Don Pramudwinai, former deputy governor of Bangkok Pol. Lt. Gen. Amnuay Nimmano, and former member of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly Prapan Koonme.”

The listing of the EC’s secretary-general indicates how just how flawed the EC is, run by junta puppets and automatons. Rigging an election requires a cheating EC. Having delivered the junta its “victory,” this puppet secretary-general will likely get his reward.

More cheating is confirmed by junta legal thug Wissanu Krea-ngam. It is reported that “[u]nder mounting pressure from transparency activists and political parties,” he has released “the identities of the selection committee who contributed to filling the 250-member junta-appointed senate.”

It should be surprising – but, then nothing is surprising any more – that:

Among the committee were six senators: former deputy PM Gen. Chatchai Sarikulya, former deputy PM Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong, former deputy PM Thanasak Patimaprakorn, deputy junta head Adm. Narong Pipatanasai, former labor minister Pol. Gen. Adul Saengsingkaew, and former president of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.

Wissanu has made unbelievable claims about the committee was “politically neutral” and that the secrecy about membership was to prevent “lobbying.” Of course, all the “lobbying” was actually the junta pulling all the strings.

He has also insisted – again unbelievable – that “members of the selection committee abstained from voting or attending the voting session if their name came up in the candidate roster,” while their brothers voted for them, saying “I can confirm that no member ever brought up their name in the selection process. Everything is on the record…”.

While we have no doubt that if he released “the record,” it would confirm his account. After all, the junta has scribes who can fabricate any record it likes. How Wissanu can say such things with a straight face is a measure of how low the junta – and Thailand – has sunk.

Now the cheating cheats have to ensure their continuing political domination for another eight years.

Update: The Bangkok Post has a few more details on the great Senate scam. The junta’s fixing panel that put the scam together had 10 members becoming nine when Pornpetch resigned. Six of them (see above) became members of the Senate they selected for the junta. The other four were Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, Wissanu, Gen Anupong Paojinda, and deputy PM Somkid Jatusripitak, all of whom are likely to be ministers in the “new” government. In other words, every one of the junta’s panel are now holding positions – or soon will be – in the junta’s “new” government as well as holding such positions under the junta. What can we say? The whole thing is a massive scam foisted on the nation by the junta. It seems there is no way of holding this bunch of election crooks accountable for any of their cheating.





Updated: The Dictator continues II

6 06 2019

As the dictatorial steamroller lumbered on to “elect” Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, some of the reporting of the parliamentary debate was problematic, even from usually reliable sources.

For example, it is inexplicable that Khaosod should headline the long debate as: “Parliament’s PM Session Descends Into Prayuth Censure Debate.” Why “descends”? What else could be expected? Neither “candidate” was in parliament. The “opposition’s” Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was legally prevented from attending. The Dictator wasn’t about to attend and “lower” himself. Of course, the “opposition” was going to attach Gen Prayuth as a usurper of power and the perpetrator of an illegal coup. And, equally, his proxies from the appointed Senate and the junta’s Palang Pracharath Party were going to defend him.

What is more interesting in the Khaosod report is some of the bizarre nonsense sprouted by the junta’s puppets:

“I was accused of supporting dictatorship. I am for democratic dictatorship, not for fake democracy,” said junta-appointed Senator Seri Suwanpanond in a bizarre remark widely discussed online….

“Farmers are starving!” Phalang Pracharath MP Veerakorn Kamprakob summed up his case for Prayuth’s second term.

Some of the puppets couldn’t bring themselves to mention Thanathorn’s name!

Other puppets, with straight face, claimed that the vote for Palang Pracharath in the 2019 “election” represented a democratic triumph for Gen Prayuth. That’s the Prayuth who would not stand for election and nor would attend parliament, and depended on a puppet Senate for his second term as prime minister.

There were peels of laughter at some of the “defenses” of Gen Prayuth.

As far as we can tell from the reporting of the “vote,” Thanathorn received 244 votes and Gen Prayuth received 500. That suggests that every single appointed senator voted for the junta leader as well as 250 MPs. Three MPs abstained from voting and one was on a sick leave. Thanathorn did not vote because he’s suspended and neither did Abhisit Vejjajiva, who had resigned his seat.

That’s pretty much as expected.

Update: Prachatai has better details on the voting. It says that “ 249 out of 250 unelected senators have voted for Prayut Chan-o-cha. The only one of senator who voted for abstention is Pornpetch Vichitchonchai, the Speaker of the Senate and the Deputy Speaker of the Parliament.” It adds that among House voters, it was 251-244 for The Dictator, with House Speaker Chuan Leekpai abstaining. It adds that the only “defection in the House …[was] Siripong Angkasakulkiet of Bhumjaithai Party…”. Siripong abstained. It adds: “#RIPThailand tops the twitter in Thailand after Prayut’s continuation of power.”





Election (probably) delayed IV

6 01 2019

PPT was wrong when we speculated and asked: if the king’s coronation really is a problem, why does the commentary not criticize the monarch for choosing a date that screws up elections?

Going by an ultra-royalist outburst National Legislative Assembly President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, people are being critical of the palace.

The yellow-hued Pornpetch has “warned critics to refrain from blaming the coronation ceremony for causing a potential delay of the election.” How dare they!

He implies the king can do whatever he wants – which is increasingly true – and, supporting the junta, declares that the Election Commission “must choose the appropriate timing for the election and to make sure that it does not not affect the auspicious ceremony which, he added, would bring joy and happiness to the Thai people in general ‘because they have high respect for the Monarchy’.”

Now, apart from the now usual but still ridiculous monarchism that marks Thailand’s every move and the monarchist shibboleth, he is effectively warning the EC that it could face lese majeste accusations if it doesn’t move the election as the junta and presumably the palace wants it.

He added a comment that “the government must make sure that all the preparations related to the coronation ceremony befit a very special event.” In other words, only the junta can do this.

We can’t help wondering if this claim, which was also made by commentators to justify the 2014 coup, carries any weight with those commentators today.

In the end, blame the junta for postponing an “election” for almost five years and blame the palace for choosing a date that the know screws the election schedule.

Mutual backscratching? Who knows.





On the junta’s senate

4 12 2018

The senate selection process belongs to the junta. This is why so few people “nominated.” To be selected, one needs to be a junta crony or one of its potential or actual political ally.

The Election Commission’s Jarungvith Phumma has said that just “7,210 people have applied to compete in the contest and the turnout is much lower than the EC expected.” It is stated that the EC expected at least 30,000 candidates. Another report has it that the EC had previously predicted “90,000 to 100,000 applicants from all over the country…”.

Confirming our view, “Chartchai Na Chiangmai, a member of the [puppet] Constitution Drafting Committee, said the low turnout could be because the candidates are not sure if they will eventually be picked by the regime.” And, many felt that the junta had already chosen its representatives for the senate. As Chartchai put it: “They [potential applicants] see no motivation for them to apply. They are sceptical [and see ] that in the end the NCPO [junta] may not appoint them…”.

As an aside, it is interesting to note that this “process” costs the taxpayer up to Bt1.3 billion.

The senate

An earlier Bangkok Post report explained that the junta is still in the process of setting up a secret committee to secretly consider the appointees for the senate.

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said the junta “will appoint between nine and 12 people to the committee that will oversee the selection of the 194 senators.” He revealed that few of these will “come from an open selection process as there might be too many applicants, which would make vetting their qualifications difficult.” Rather, the junta will choose.

One source at the puppet National Legislative Assembly is reported as saying “[p]otential appointees include the army’s top brass, political post-holders and businessmen who have close ties to Prime Minister [Gen] Prayut Chan-o-cha, his deputy [Gen] Prawit Wongsuwan, army chief [Gen] Apirat Kongsompong and NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai.” The senate is likely to look and behave like the puppet NLA.





Updated: How’s that Potemkin election coming along?

7 09 2017

Regular readers will know that PPT has not been skeptical about the military dictatorship’s “plans” for an “election.” For one thing, we think the military dictatorship has fixed any upcoming election to ensure that only its approved “politicians” can gain seats in government. It might be considered a Potemkin election.

Then we have seen plenty of “postponements,” from mid-2015 and each year since. The junta simply won’t have an election until it is sure it can have its people win. And, clearly, the military lads just love all the power.

This means that we are not surprised when Prachatai reports that Deputy Dictator General Prawit Wongsuwan has said there may not be an election in 2018.

Prawit blames others: “he is uncertain if the organic laws can be finalised within 2018.” This despite the fact that the junta’s (fungible) roadmap, “the organic laws were to be finalised in late 2017 with the election held five months after they are endorsed.”

General Prawit has “told the media at Government House that the next general election remains unscheduled as the drafting of organic laws is not yet finished.” We wonder how long that can be stretched out. No one responsible for the laws seems very active or agitated. For the junta, the slower the better.

Prawit went on to state that “the junta has never promised an actual election date and the roadmap was merely a guideline.” He stated he did not know if an election would be held in 2018.

The junta came to power at the behest of an anti-democratic coalition of fascists and royalists and the military men are no democrats. So no one should expect anything like free and fair elections any time soon. Our view is that the junta needs to be overthrown and the constitution and electoral rules torn up and rewritten before that would be possible.

Update: In a pattern seen several times, Prawit’s bluntness on an “election,” is now tempered by underlings, who admit further “delays,” but “promise an “election.” The latest puppet is National Legislative Assembly President Pornpetch Wichitcholchai who says the next “general election could be expected late next year around November-December…”. Expect that “estimate” to be “flexible.”





Non-voting, unconstitutional puppets “cleared”

23 02 2017

Khaosod reports that the “[s]even [puppet] lawmakers who failed to fulfill their required duties will not lose their jobs…”.

PPT has to say that this is exactly what we expected.

The vice president of the military junta’s puppet National Legislative Assembly, Peerasak Porjit, pre-empted a “review report” due Friday.

He is said to have “[c]ontradict[ed] an expose published earlier this month, [and] said an internal review found the seven members in question had in fact met the minimum participation requirements called for under the body’s regulations, and therefore would not be dismissed.”

The details of the earlier kerfuffle are here and here.

Khaosod adds:

Among the seven, the worst record was held by Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha, the younger brother of junta chief Prayuth Chan-ocha. He was found to have cast only six votes out of a total 453 roll calls during a six-month period. Assembly by-laws call for members to be removed if they don’t participate in more than one-third of all votes during a 90-day period.

Puppet Preecha “insisted he had sought and obtained permission for his absenteeism.” Therefore, they would not lose their seats under constitutional provisions.

Khaosod states that NLA president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai decided to make up law and/or display his ignorance of the rules and the junta’s constitution when he “pointed out that the number of sessions the members reportedly missed – 300 to 400 – were the number of roll-call votes and not days. They assembly has only met about 200 days since it was established after the 2014 coup.”

Readers can look at the laws and link through to them on our posts and see that the NLA president is making this up and/or displaying his ignorance and/or arrogance.

We can’t wait for the report to see how this is fudged.