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 junta’s role over Thai politics now looks as firm as ever. This is in spite of hopes that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader and Prime Minister, will soon say goodbye to his famous Friday TV program known for its effectiveness in reducing electricity consumption on Friday evening after the promised 2017 election.
Once the Meechai Ruchuphan’s draft constitution is formally adopted, the junta will remain in power behind the elected government. Future politicians will have no choice but to follow the junta’s the so-called national reform agendas for the next 20 years.
Among them, 194 Senators will be selected from the selection committee, which will be appointed by the NCPO, 50 senators will be selected from the Election Commission, thus totally 244 Senators will be selected. The rest six seats will be reserved to Permanent Secretary of Defenses, Thai Armed Force Supreme Commander, Thai Armed Forces Commanders: Army, Navy and Air Force and the Police Commissioner General, the representatives from the bureaucrats to control elected politicians.
The selected Senators will select and appoint members and commissioners of various independent organizations, who will audit the government’ in the future. The are also vested with the power to monitor, recommend, accelerate the national reform, draft and implement the National Strategy. The future government has to report the national reform progress to the Parliament every three months. In conclusion, the Senators will comprise of the majority in the Parliament and they are the NCPO’s people.
2. Senators will appoint independent organizations that will oversee, inspect, audit and impeach politicians such as the Constitution Court, the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Office of the Auditor General. Thus, the NCPO’s mechanism will be embedded in independent organizations to control an elected government.
3. The country’s national reform and the twenty years national strategic plan reflect the NCPO’s control of the national reform and development framework. The two plans effectively implement the framework for the elected government to follow. If the government does not follow, refer to No. 1 and 2.
4. The Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC)
The CDC’s role will not end after the constitution is adopted. Meechai Ruchuphan will remain in the office at least for the next 240 days — eight months, by virtue of Article 267 in the Transitory Provisions — to draft the ten organic laws: the Organic Act on Election of Members of the House of Representatives; the Organic Act on Acquisition of Members of the Senate; the Organic Act on the Election Commission; the Organic Act on Political Parties; the Organic Act on the Procedure of the Constitutional Court; the Organic Act on the Criminal Procedure for Persons Holding Political Positions; the Organic Act on the Ombudsman; the Organic Act on Prevention and Suppression of Corruption; the Organic Law on the State Audit; and the Organic Law on the National Human Rights Commission.
5. The National Reform Steering Committee will continue to perform its duty under Article 266, with the purpose of formulating recommendations for national reform plans and reforms until the bill governing the Plan and the National Reform Process is enacted. Please refer to No. 3.
6. In the Transitory Provisions, Article 265 of the draft Constitution, the NCPO shall hold the office until the new cabinet take offices. During the said period, the NCPO still have authority under Article 44 of the Interim Constitution. The NCPO can exercise power under Article 44 at anytime it deems fit. As a result, the Interim Constitution has the power over the permanent Constitution.
7. Under the Interim Provisions of the draft Constitution, Article 279, the NCPO’s announcements, orders and acts will come into force in accordance with Section 265, will continue to be in force under the Constitution. This includes the performance of the NCPO or of the Head of the NCPO already in force prior to the date of promulgation of the new
Constitution. Repeal or amendment of such any announcement or order shall be made by an Act.The NCPO will haunt the Thai society for a long time. The saying that the Constitution should be adopted first, then it can be amended, is easier said than done. Ultimately, an amendment would be impossible, because the Constitution was doctored to secure that an amendment would be nearly unfeasible.