Although a growing number of MPs agree that there is a need to revoke many of the decrees issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), the military-led body which governed Thailand between the 2014 coup and the 2019 election, a vote in parliament after a week of discussion was overwhelmingly against pursuing proposed plans for changes.
The Thai parliament
On 15 December, the House of Representatives voted after an initial reading of two draft laws: one submitted by Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, former secretary-general of the dissolved Future Forward Party, and another by Jon Ungpakorn, a former senator and founder of iLaw, a legal watchdog. This draft recieved 12,609 signatures in support of the submission.
The former was voted down by 229-156 with 4 abstentions. The latter lost by 234-161, with 3 abstentions.
After the 22 May 2014 coup, Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha issued a wide range of orders in conjunction with the NCPO to facilitate military rule. An ad-hoc constitution legitimated the process.
In July 2017, a number of NCPO decrees were revoked. However, according to advocates of further revocation, orders still in force include decrees limiting land ownership rights, environmental protection, and freedom of expression.
The rejected proposals aimed to abolish orders constraining freedom of expression, freedom of assembly and land rights. Both also sought to overturn orders that allow military troops to assist the police in quelling the protests and disputes.
Orders identified as problematic in both drafts include NCPO decrees: No 7/2557 which prohibits demonstrations; No 26/2557 which allows state authorities and telecommunication service providers to monitor the use of social media and media broadcasting; and No 17/2558, 3/2559 and 4/2559 which allow state authorities to designate zoning to facilitate the creation of special economic zones. These latter edicts have been used to change city zoning and allow for industrial projects, affecting people who live in the areas.
The Piyabutr draft aimed to abolish NCPO decrees: No 7/2557, 25/2557, 26/2557, 29/2557, 41/2557, 49/2557, NCPO head order No 3/2558, 4/2558, 5/2558, 17/2558, 3/2559, 4/2559, 9/2559, 13/2559, 74/2559, 5/2560, and 31/2560.
Jon’s proposal sought to overturn NCPO announcements: No 7/2557, 25/2557, 26/2557, 29/2557, 41/2557, 49/2557, 57/2257, NCPO head order No 3/2558, 4/2558, 5/2558, 17/2558, 13/2559, 41/2559, 74/2559, 5/2560, 31/2560 and 47/2560.