The creation of Article 44 has excited the imaginations of those who imagine it should be wielded to tackle Thai problems bound up in corruption and bureaucracy. The junta has been barraged with pleas to use its absolute power to tackle intractable issues.
Thus far, Gen. Prayuth seems to be reticent about wielding this power to solve everyone’s issue of the moment. Tackling intractable Thai problems with Article 44 would only create unrealistic expectations and more powerful enemies for the army. The result it produces would only last as long as the military can wield Article 44.
The last person to wield absolute power to hack at the old order of things was Thaksin Shinawatra himself. His “do it now and make it legal later” attitude provoked the wrath of entire Thai system. It is not a model the army can pursue unless it intends to remain in power indefinitely.
Article 44 was not principally intended to solve problems or even to enable the army to cling to power. Like the coup itself, the only intent of Article 44 is to block Thaksin activities and influence. Through martial law, and now Article 44, the junta intends to prevent Thaksin from deploying Red Shirts to pressure the junta as well as to prove to the Thai political world that Thaksin will never be allowed to influence politics again.
After the many months of pre-coup threats of secession and armed rebellion (even from ruling Pheu Thai Party members), the army must remain wary. Even the manner in which the Red Shirts instantly stood down after the coup and were ordered to cooperate with the government heightens the impression that they are, after all, merely a political pressure group that can be turned loose on command.
Gen. Prayuth has little real desire to upset the old order of things by using Article 44.
May 9: Poll shows Section 44 may not resolve lottery overpricing definitely
…According to Dusit Poll, Section 44 could resolve overpricing lottery ticket just in short term, while the root cause of the problem or the unfair quota allocation remains unsolved…
May 4: NCPO urged to lift curbs on media
…The most recent one — Order No.5 — was issued under Section 44 of the interim constitution, he said.
They ban criticism of the NCPO and authorities…
May 2: EU ‘pleased’ with fishery effort
…Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as head of the National Council for Peace and Order, has invoked Section 44 of the interim constitution to speed up the process of fishery reform. It calls for the establishment of an anti-IUU command centre, led by the navy chief. As well, the military will be involved in registration and monitoring of fishing vessels…
April 25: LCT member backs Section 44 for fishing
April 25: Prayut says Section 44 not enough to resolve long standing fishing industry problem
Prime Minister Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha has conceded that Section 44 that grants him emergency powers under the interim constitution will not be able to resolve the illegal fishing within the time frame demanded by the European Union, reasoning that the problem has been long standing and needs to be resolved in the broader perspective that will take more than six months…
April 21: EU to Thailand: Clean Up Fishing Trade in 6 Months
[Now-so-subtle hints from the EU that Prayuth should use his absolute power to clean up the fishing industry. Remember, you are opposed to dictatorial power unless it can be applied to solve your own issue.]
April 13: Section 44 a failure
…The Samui explosion again exposes the fatal flaw of suppressive rule. Martial law was supposedly needed to crack down on and prevent violence, yet two explosions still took place in Bangkok. Now martial law has been replaced with the even more draconian one-man rule of Section 44. The government justifies it by pointing to “elements” still intent on creating trouble. Section 44 has failed its first and main purpose — to prevent violence and protect the people.