Devils circle

17 03 2019

The junta’s devil party is Palang Pracharath. It was formed by the junta as a vehicle for The Dictator and the junta to continue in power beyond their rigged election.

With voting now on – overseas and advance domestic – other opportunistic rightist parties are lining up to ally with Palang Pracharath and its junta bosses.

Anutin Charnvirakul at the head of the Bhum Jai Thai Party has announced that his party is:

ready to work with parties that are loyal to … the monarchy, can make the country thrive and do not lead the country into conflict. If a party meets our conditions, we will support it and its prime ministerial candidate….

That should be no surprise. After all, the party was essentially created to represent the military’s electoral interests back at the time of the 2007 election. The party splashed loot about and did badly back then and was punished by pro-Thaksin voters for fielding turncoat candidates. It did poorly again in 2011 and now is only relevant as a mini-devil party supporting the junta.

More interesting is the Democrat Party and Abhisit Vejjajiva. He’s writhing and slithering like a wounded snake.

The headline for his interview with the Bangkok Post is as damning as it gets: “Abhisit OK working with military.” Of course, despite his denials, Abhisit has been with the military for years and supported both the 2006 and 2014 military interventions. For reminders, look here and here.

He groveled further to the junta, saying that he would only “join a no-confidence motion against a future [unelected] Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha if there were ‘good reasons’…”. So while saying he’d rather he was premier and would not support Gen Prayuth, Abhisit does not reject him as premier.

Abhisit also says that he “categorically rules out supporting any future coups,” which would be a huge change from his previous support for them as a means to remove elected governments.

And, he reaffirms that the Democrat Party is willing to join the devil parties: “he’s open to working with pro-military Palang Pracharath Party…”.

As for the anti-democratic, military-backed, appointed, senate, Abhisit can only waffle about maybe doing something or other about its undemocratic nature.

At this point, we at PPT would be willing to bet that the main devil parties will be Palang Pracharath, Bhum Jai Thai and the Democrat Party, and that this alliance, together with the senate, is very likely to deliver The Dictator as premier. Only a massive reaction against devil parties at the polls has a chance to prevent that.

What did you expect?

9 03 2019

A couple of days ago, in a Bangkok Post editorial, it is lamented that there is a “stark contrast to the race for Lower House seats in the March 24 general election, the ongoing process of selecting a majority of senators has fallen under the public radar.”

A model senator

It goes on to refer to the selection of unelected senators as “a secretive recruitment process for Upper House members who will be granted unprecedented power to join parliamentary votes for a prime minister.” These selectees are expected to be pro-military, pro-monarchy, pro-junta and pro-Prayuth Chan-ocha.

It adds that “the process of selecting these senators has taken place behind closed doors” led by Deputy Dictator Gen Prawit Wongsuwan.

Junta boss, coup leader, self-appointed Prime Minister and prime ministerial candidate Gen Prayuth “has refused to reveal who is on the special committee.”

The Post huffily declares: “By keeping it secret, Gen Prayut has made a mockery of the selection process, which many suspect is set up to further his own aims.”

What did the editorial writer think? That a process meant to select a puppet Senate was going to be fair and transparent? Give us a break! Even if The Dictator did name his committee, it’d make no difference to the selection of the future-proofing puppets.

The process is meant to be a junta process, for the junta and by the junta. How could the Post expect anything else?

Everlasting military rule II

3 10 2016

As PPT has been posting for a couple of years, the military dictatorship is not “into” power sharing. The most benign analogy is with a nasty three-year-old child with a bag of candy, gorging itself, unwilling to share with anyone, engaging in tantrums when anyone suggests sharing.

Readers will note that this military dictatorship is not benign. It is gorging, selfish and very nasty. It demands and (so far) gets what it wants. It has kept all the political “candy.”

As the Bangkok Post reports, not only does the military hope for a military party and The Dictator as boss of an “elected” government following its “election,” but it has plans to ensure that the result is owned by them.

It has set the rules through the outcome of the “referendum” and the constitution it designed. It continues to tinker with the draft constitution to make it even more dictatorship-friendly. It has cowed the opposition. It will control the appointed senate. It has arranged for an appointed premier.

But, it seems, nothing can be left to “chance” (or to the people).

Deputy prime minister and military lackey Wissanu Krea-ngam has declared that The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, has the power to use Article 44 “to dissolve the freshly elected House if the new-PM selection process drags on for months” (and, presumably, doesn’t choose him).

Until there is a premier acceptable to the junta, it seems that the military junta remains in place and can thus do anything it wants, including overturning the “election” result.

The tantrum-prone terrible three-year-olds have all the candy and won’t share.

ASEAN parliamentarians on the junta and its charter

26 04 2016

We thought readers might find this media release of interest:

Regional MPs concerned by Thailand’s draft constitution and planned referendum

JAKARTA, 25 April 2016 — Parliamentarians from across Southeast Asia have expressed deep concerns about Thailand’s new draft constitution, as well as a planned referendum on the charter, highlighting an apparent effort by the military government to strengthen and prolong its control over Thai politics and stifle open debate.

ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights (APHR) criticized the decision by the ruling National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to outlaw campaigns for or against the charter in advance of the referendum, slated for 7 August, and called on Thailand’s leaders to allow for a robust, public discussion of the draft.

“The Thai people are being asked to vote on the core laws that will determine how they are governed, and they aren’t even allowed to speak about them publicly, under threat of imprisonment. How can they be expected to make an informed decision under this arrangement?” said APHR Chairperson Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian Parliament.

“If the junta truly believes—as it insists—that this is a matter for the people to decide, then it should allow the people to speak directly to one another about the draft’s merits and drawbacks. Without allowing for such open debate, the Thai junta is effectively attempting to force-feed this constitution to the population.”

The law governing the rules for the referendum, which was approved by the current military-appointed legislature on 7 April, mandates up to 10 years’ imprisonment for anyone convicted of disseminating false information to influence voters or otherwise disrupt the referendum. Junta leaders have also failed to clarify their plan if voters reject the constitution, with some insinuating that a failure to approve the current draft could prolong military rule further.

“People shouldn’t be thrown in jail for simply expressing their opinions. We have already seen individuals who have made comments on the charter subjected to arbitrary detention and so-called ‘re-education,’ and the referendum rules seem designed to stoke fear among the people and stifle debate further,” said APHR Vice Chair Son Chhay, a member of the Cambodian National Assembly.

“The fate of democracy in Thailand has implications for the entire region. It is critical that leaders from around Southeast Asia stand with the Thai people and speak out in support of free expression and informed debate. This draft constitution must be judged on its merits through open discussion. Attempting to gag and intimidate critics is no way to run a country and certainly no way to resolve the political polarization and strife that has characterized Thai politics in recent years,” Son Chhay added.

The draft constitution, which was released publicly on 29 March, includes clauses mandating a fully appointed Senate and enabling the appointment of an unelected prime minister. The charter gives the military broad control over administrative affairs even after an elected government is installed. In addition, clauses of the charter enable the permanent legalization of orders issued unilaterally by NCPO leader Prayuth Chan-ocha under Article 44 of the junta-drafted interim constitution.

Civil society and political parties in Thailand have criticized the draft, highlighting its undemocratic provisions, including the special place reserved for military appointees. These critiques were echoed by regional MPs.

“The fact that the constitution preserves an explicit role for the military indefinitely is particularly concerning,” said APHR Vice Chair Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of the House of Representatives in Indonesia.

“We have seen the result of a similar setup in Myanmar, where the military controls 25 percent of seats and is able to veto constitutional amendments. It’s the very thing that the people of Myanmar and its new, elected government are now struggling to change. It seems odd that Thailand would want to adopt and adapt elements of this widely criticized model.”

Parliamentarians also highlighted the lack of protections for community rights and the environment, which were present in previous Thai constitutions. The new draft’s assertion that the state is empowered to protect certain rights provides for a sweeping mandate, which is open to abuse by ruling authorities.

“Any trappings of direct democracy, which were preserved in earlier drafts, have been eliminated. The people’s control over their own rights and affairs is severely limited as well, and that sets a dangerous precedent for Thailand’s ability to return to full democracy,” Sundari said.

“This constitution appears to be an attempt by the Thai military to subvert normal democratic processes and strengthen its hold on the political system,” Charles Santiago added. “This is yet another worrying sign for a country that has been backsliding dramatically on its human rights commitments under an unelected military government for nearly two years now.”

More anti-democrat support for the junta

25 04 2016

The anti-democrats associated with the Democrat Party seem to be throwing their support behind the military junta. The pathetic Abhisit Vejjajiva mumbled something about the draft charter having  undemocratic elements but, as usual, didn’t say if he supported the charter. No surprise there.

Also not surprising is the support of Suthep Thaugsuban. He speaks for many in the official Democrat Party and for the broader flock of anti-democrats.Protest leader Suthep Thaugsuban answers questions during a news conference in Bangkok

The Bangkok Post reports that Suthep, now chairman of the Muan Maha Prachachon for Reform Foundation (the residue of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee), “has declared support for the draft constitution, saying it is suitable for the current situation in the country.”

In other words, Suthep and his followers are fully supportive of the military-dictated constitution, prepared by a puppet drafting body which, if passed in an illegitimate referendum, promises to remove virtually all the hallmarks of a democratic constitution. No surprise there.

Suthep was speaking at a press conference. Yes, we know, such public campaigning is meant to be banned under the junta, but it deals only in double standards.

According to the report, Suthep “was full of praise for the draft charter…”. For Suthep, the draft charter, provides “a way out without requiring another coup if a similar crisis as in the past occurred.” In other words, the charter will embed military supervision and control for years to come, backed up by interventionist and elite institutions such as the judiciary.

In essence, Suthep feels that the Thailand is better under an authoritarian regime. He praised the appointment of senators and the likelihood of an unelected premier.

The junta will be pleased.

The elite’s constitution

31 08 2015

A couple of days ago, PPT posted Ji Ungpakorn’s take on the military junta’s draft constitution. Apart from the basic unrepresentative nature of the charter, its attack on electoral politics, its military tutelage and its origins in a military coup, the “constitution draft reflects more obviously the wish of the elites to entrench their power in Thai politics.”

An important “innovation” in maintaining elite rule is opposition to it has to do with the proposed National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Committee, the “crisis committee.

Military hireling has “explained” why he thinks the crisis committee is required. He fears that the junta’s constitution will ignite conflict – he means opposition – “during the referendum process … in January 2016…”. His biggest fear is that opposition will emerge against elements of the constitution that the military has made central: controls on political parties, “independent” organizations, undemocratic and unelected swill having control.

Wissanu explains that the crisis committee is required to “control” and prevent opposition to elite control of politics:

Any sign of renewed political conflict would have to be stopped right away, without a coup, and that was why the National Strategic Reform and Reconciliation Committee was needed — to serve Thai society….

He means to serve the elite in society.

Yet even when there is no “conflict,” Wissanu explains that:

… the panel has the power to tell the government to do anything for the sake or reform and reconciliation. The government must comply with its requests if the panel confirms its decisions.

Wissanu and his military bosses expect to control politics into the future, for the elite.

Unelected PM and other anti-democratic plans

28 02 2015

We recently posted on the unelected senate that will work to keep the military at the center of power. If that wasn’t sufficient in the rolling back of electoral politics some 25 years, the puppet Constitution Drafting Committee has now approved a non-elected prime minister.

The puppets met on Thursday in Pattaya. Why? Who knows, given that it was an in-camera meeting. Perhaps in the words of an old Post correspondent on the night industries, they felt like some rubs and suds? Perhaps they wanted to golf or eat free seafood?

Whatever the motivation, they “approved a provision that will open the position of prime minister to both MPs and outsiders.” That’s the Post’s way of ridiculous way of saying that the fascists want an unelected premier, most likely a “retired” general and maybe even a Dictator.

The model is the era when the great political meddler General Prem Tinsulanonda represented the monarchy as prime minister.

Apparently 17 of the 31 who attended the meeting wanted this arrangement. The others were said to be tied up with other arrangements. (The mind boggles when this is considered in the context of Pattaya and closed door meetings.)

An unelected senate, an unelected premier and a constituency system that means smaller and weak parties and coalitions. This is a model for the 1980s.

One aspect that seems new is a strange provision that the (perhaps unelected) prime minister “can decide which legislative bills are significant and require endorsement by the House.” (Presumably “insignificant” bills can slip by through executive fiat?) When a “significant” bills are “tabled to the House, the opposition is given only 48 hours to decide whether to propose a no-confidence motion against the government over the bills.” If the opposition doesn’t demand a no-confidence vote “within 48 hours, the bills are deemed to be passed by the House…”.

It seems increasingly unnecessary to even have a parliament, which is what anti-democrats seem to prefer.

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