National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
The general who led the 2006 coup has called on the current junta to stick to the election roadmap. On 1 October 2017, Gen Sonthi Boonyaratglin, the leader of the 2006 coup, invited top military leaders to his 71st birthday celebration at his residence at the 11th Infantry Regiment King’s Guard in Bangkok, the Thai News Agency reported.
On May 22, 2014 the Thai military, led by General Prayuth Chan-ocha, staged a coup d’état to end several months of political and civil chaos in Thailand. At its very basic level, the chaos was caused by an on-going conflict between the so-called ‘red-shirts’, followers of the government of Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party and comprising the rural voters forming a majority of the electorate, and the ‘yellow-shirts’, an alliance between the military, the Thai elite, and the middle-class Democrat party of Abhisit Vejjajiva with a strong following in Bangkok.
My name is Atipong Pathanasethpong and I am the Spokesperson for the Project for a Social Democracy. You may have heard of my colleague at the Project for a Social Democracy, John Draper, the PhD student in Public Affairs Management at Khon Kaen University in Northeast Thailand who just over week ago offered to organize a mass surrender to the Thai authorities for attending the International Conference on Thai Studies in Chiang Mai, in solidarity with five academics and students charged with illegal political assembly there.
On top of rising numbers of prosecutions under Thailand’s notorious lèse majesté law, the sedition law has also been used by the military regime to shut down critics since the 2014 coup d’état.
The Supreme Court has handed a two month suspended jail term to a prominent red-shirt activist. On 9 August 2017, the Dusit District Court in Bangkok read the Supreme Court’s verdict for Sombat Boonngamanong, leader of the Red Sunday red-shirt group, who was accused of failing to report to the junta.
After a five-year transition period in which 250 senators will be hand-picked by the junta, a reduced number of 200 senators will be elected from among 20 professional groups. On 5 August 2017, Norachit Sinhaseni, spokesperson of the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), announced the draft of the organic law on how the senate will be elected after 2022, the Thai News Agency reported. According to the CDC plan, 10 senators will be selected from each of 20 professional groups.
Tools of the state. Political opportunists. Foes of democracy. These are all rather harsh descriptions of NGOs. But for Pinkaew Laungaramsri from Chiang Mai University’s Faculty of Social Science, they are truly the roles many NGOs have played in recent Thai political history.
The junta has revealed its blueprint for national reconciliation, combining the late King’s philosophy with the junta’s 20-year national strategy. On 17 July 2017, Lt Gen Kukiat Srinaka of Army Region 1 presided over a public forum on the ‘social contract for unity and reconciliation’, the blueprint for the junta’s national reconciliation plan. The social contract was drafted by a subcommittee under the junta-appointed Committee on National Reform, National Strategy, and Reconciliation, most of whose members are military officers.
In the three years since the 2014 coup d’état, the regime has disrupted 157 public events, most for being politically sensitive. According to iLaw, a human rights advocacy group, from the day of the military coup d’état on 22 May 2014 until 10 July 2017, the junta has disrupted at least 157 public events.
A military court has acquitted a well-known labour unionist accused violating a summons from the junta. On 6 July 2017, the Military Court of Bangkok acquitted Jittra Cotchadet, a labour activist, former president of the Triumph Workers Union and MP candidate for the Democratic Force Party. Jittra was accused of violating National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Announcement No. 41/2014 for failing to report to the authorities in June 2014 when she was in Sweden at the time.