Thailand has more military in its parliament than Burma

While Burma’s Constitution reserves 25 per cent of parliamentary seats for the military, Thailand now has 52.5% of seats in the newly appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) occupied by acting and retired military officers.

Newly appointed National Legislative Assembly (NLA) members from the Army (Top from L to R) Gen. Aksara Kerdphol, Chief of Staff, Royal Thai Army, Lt. Gen. Theerachai Nakwanich, Commander of the 1st Army Region, Lt. Gen. Preecha Chan-ocha, Commander of the 3rd Army Region, Maj. Gen. Kukiat Sinakha, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Queen's Guard

(Bottom from L to R) Gen. Songkitti Jaggabatara, former Chief of Defence Forces, Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, Adm. Surasak Runreongrom, former Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy, Lt. Gen. Kanit Sapitak, former Commander of the 1st Army Region and former adviser of Ministry of Defence, Gen. Somjet Boonthanom, former appointed senator and former chief of the secretariat of the Council for National Security (CNS).

The Burma’s Parliament has 664 members and 166 of them are military officers.

The appointments to the NLA were royally endorsed on Thursday. The first NLA meeting is on 7 August.

More than half of the NLA are military officers and ex-officers even though Article 7 of the 2014 interim constitution states that NLA members should come from diverse backgrounds and that they should have the ability to deliberate laws.

The assembly will be responsible for selecting 36 members of the cabinet, including the prime minister, and acts as the Lower House and the Senate.

However, among the 200 NLA members, 105 members, or more than half, are former and current military officers, nine are former and current police officers, 22 are former members of the Senate, and 14 are university lecturers and university rectors.

The followings are some of the high-profile appointees to the NLA.

Gen Songkitti Jaggabatara, former Chief of Defence Forces, Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, and Director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), a special body which handled the red-shirt demonstrations in April 2009.

Lt Gen Kanit Sapitak, former Commander of the 1st Army Region and former adviser at the Ministry of Defence.

Adm. Surasak Runreongrom, former Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Thai Navy.

Gen Aksara Kerdphol, Chief of Staff, Royal Thai Army.

Lt. Gen. Theerachai Nakwanich, Commander of the 1st Army Region.

Lt Gen Preecha Chan-ocha, Commander of the 3rd Army Region, the younger brother of Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, the Head of the NCPO.

Maj Gen Kukiat Sinakha, Commander of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Queen's Guard.

Gen Somjet Boonthanom, co-leader of the ultra right-wing Pitak Siam (Protect Siam), member of the NLA appointed by the 2006 coup makers, and former chief of the Secretariat of the Council for National Security.

Klanarong Chantik, former secretary-general of National Anti-Corruption Commission and former member of the Constitution Drafting Assembly.

Noraniti Sethabutr, former chair of the Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA), after the 2006 coup.

Somkit Lertpaitoon, rector of Thammasat University and former secretary of the Constitution Drafting Assembly (CDA) after the 2006 coup.

Boonchai Chokwatana, Chairman of Saha Pathanapibul Public Co. Ltd., a company dealig in many kinds of food and consumer products including "Mama" instant noodles.

Ampon Kittiampon, former Secretary General to the Cabinet Executive and chairman of the Thai Airways International Plc.

According to Komchadluek, Asis Pitakkumpol, Chief of the Muslims in Thailand who was nominated as NLA member, has reportedly rejected the position.

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