National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)
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.
On 19 August 2016, the military officials have brought 13 men and two women, 15 of them, to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD), the Royal Thai Police, to process the arrest memos and to have them hear the charges filed against them by the military. They are all accused of forming the Revolutionary Alliance for Democracy Party and their act is considered an offence concerning being members of a secret society or a criminal association and having a political gathering of five persons and upward without getting permission from the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO).
Thanks in part to the prospect of a return to elections, the junta-sponsored draft constitution has been approved by a majority vote via the controversial referendum. The attached question of whether an unelected-senate should be allowed to join the house of representatives in selecting the Prime Minister was also approved.
The Treasury Department has announced that it may ask Thailand’s junta leader to use his absolute power to amend laws that prevent investors from renting out lands in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to other businesses. Chakkrit Parapuntakul, Director General of the Treasury Department, told media that the department recently received a letter from the Industrial Estate Authorities of Thailand (IEAT) about laws that obstruct investors from developing industrial estates in SEZs and from renting them out to other businesses.
A security expert advising the Thai junta has argued that the Mother’s Day attack was likely connected to the junta’s political opponents.
In an interview with Prachatai following the constitutional referendum, Nidhi Eoseewong maintained that the results were due to the lack of free and open debate and criticism. Many people consequently made what seemed the easy choice giving the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) a sort of split legitimacy: While Thais may accept the results, it will be difficult to claim legitimacy with the international community where the process has been seen as unjust from the start. Despite the referendum result, he holds out hope for democracy future.
Parliamentarians from across Southeast Asia today deplored the undemocratic process leading up to this Sunday’s referendum on a new constitution in Thailand, raising concerns over harassment, arrests, and intimidation of those seeking to campaign against the draft charter.
As Thailand approaches its monumental referendum, the potential for political conflict is high. What will happen after Sunday? Thailand’s constitution-drafting process has come to the crucial point — the referendum on the draft charter on 7 August. All arms of Thailand’s authoritarian regime are working in unison to ensure that the referendum will go smoothly and coerce an acceptance of the draft from Thais.
In order to understand why the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), formal name of the Thai junta, chose to stipulate that the draft constitution be passed by a referendum, we must return to the first period after the coup.
Thai police have summoned a 25-year-old anti-junta citizen from central Thailand for declaring that he will not turn up for the 7 August referendum on the junta-sponsored draft charter while a renowned anti-lèse majesté intellectual has also said that he will not participate in the referendum. At 11 am on Thursday, 4 August 2016, Wasin Wainiya, a 25-year-old man from the central province of Nonthaburi, reported to Mueang District Police Station in the province.