Charter drafters say Constitutional Court will rule on political vacuum

The junta-appointed drafters of the new constitution have concluded that under the new charter the controversial Constitutional Court will have jurisdiction in times of political crisis.  

At the mobile meeting in Cha Am District of Phetchaburi Province, the Constitutional Drafting Committee (CDC) on Monday, 11 January 2016, announced that the new charter will move the language of Article 7 of the 2007 Constitution to the section on the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court instead.

In other words, the Constitutional Court will be given the authority to rule on cases that now fall under Article 7, which stipulates that when a situation arises where no provision of the constitution is applicable, the matter shall be decided in accordance with constitutional practices in a democratic form of government with the King as the head of state.

The Article is viewed as an emergency measure to break political impasses.  

The CDC also announced that in order to make the Article more concrete, the phrase ‘constitutional practice’ will be replaced because of its vague meaning.

Prior to the 2014 coup d’état, the anti-election protesters of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) led by Suthep Thaugsuban, called for the invocation of Article 7 to seek the King’s endorsement of a nominated interim Prime Minister if the Constitutional Court ruled against the former PM Yingluck Shinawatra.

Worachet Pakeerut, law lecturer from Thammasat University and member of the Nitirat Group, a group of progressive law academics, said that Article 7 is used to refer to constitutional convention to fix loopholes in the written Constitution, as long as it is adopted democratically. It by no means allows a royally-appointed Prime Minister, he said.


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