In praise of the Thai upper house

In praise of the Thai upper house - The Irrawaddy, November 22, 2002
Before 1997, the Senate, entirely appointed by the Prime minister and composed of retired military and police officers, former high ranking civil servants and politically linked—and sometimes shady—businessmen, had always been a rubber stamp house....
It has now come to a point where the government can no longer restrain its irritation. Government ministers have criticized the senate for being too active. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra himself said that the senate was improperly behaving "like the opposition"...
For all its energy, the Thai Senate has more than once given ground to powerful political interests. Out of a total of 200 senators, a group of around 50 can be classified as "progressive" senators keen on defending the common peoples interests. A large group of 80 to 90 senators are former provincial governors, retired civil servants, teachers and lawyers, whose vote will switch according to the issue and who can be fairly independent at times. The rest is made up of senators who are indirectly linked to political parties, either by prior membership or family ties to MPs.
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