2016 Charter Draft
The junta’s Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) has confirmed that the new constitution will be ratified in April, when the CDC will also submit two organic bills — on political parties and the election commission — to the junta-appointed parliament. On 28 March 2017, Udom Ratammarit, a CDC representative, said that the draft constitution has already been submitted to the King for final endorsement.
To prevent politicians from committing severe corruption, the death penalty will be enshrined in an organic law of the junta-backed draft charter. On 2 November 2016, Meechai Ruchuphan, the Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), announced the CDC has been drafting the organic law for political parties — one of the most crucial laws of the junta-sponsored draft charter, reported Voice TV.
Thailand’s draft constitution will be sent for royal approval on 9 November. The King will have 90 days to revise it before approval. On 1 November 2016, junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that the deadline for Thailand’s draft constitution to be ready for the King to sign is 9 November.
Citing the 7 August referendum results, Thailand’s Constitutional Court has ruled that the junta-backed draft charter must give the junta-appointed senate the right to activate the special mechanism to allow an ‘outsider’ Prime Minister.
The president of Thailand’s statesmen have urged the junta to amend the draft charter to open a channel for constitutional military intervention during political deadlocks. The statesmen reasoned that the amendment would prevent Thailand from future coups. On Friday, 26 August 2016, Kriangsak Lekkla, the representative of Gen Saiyud Kerdphol, President of Thailand’s Statesmen, filed a petition to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), the junta-appointed charter drafter.
Amid grim hope, student activists representing various groups have argued civil society can still take concrete steps towards repealing Thailand’s new constitution, even if the amendment process will be hard. At a public panel convened at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand on Tuesday, 23 August 2016, former and current student activists grimly acknowledged that the junta will likely remain in power for the near future.
In the aftermath of the 7 August referendum, junta supporters have strategically initiated efforts to ensure that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the current junta head, will be Thailand’s next ‘outsider’ Prime Minister.
A Thai political expert has speculated that the junta’s charter draft will be enacted for only five years before being torn down again by another coup d’etat. Another expert said voters made their decision based on political purpose, instead of the draft’s content. At a seminar on Thursday, 11 August 2016, lecturers from Chulalongkorn University’s Faculty of Political Science discussed the 7 August referendum results and the future direction of Thailand under the junta-backed constitution.
Despite the junta’s attempt to restrict criticism of the regime-backed draft charter, a public poll conducted in northeastern Thailand, the Isaan region, shows that Isaan people are still hostile to the military regime.
A politician in the northern Thailand has been detained for spreading letters allegedly distorting the junta-sponsored draft charter’s content although the referendum has already ended.