[The junta’s absolute power under Article 44 has recently come under seemingly coordinated attack as the authorities try to capture the fugitive abbot of Wat Dhammakaya.
Most often Article 44 has been condemned for being dictatorial while, at the same time, people press the junta to use it before democracy returns and the window for reform ends.
Below is a translation from Suan Dusit Poll on the public’s preferences for the junta to use the military’s special power.]
More on Article 44:
2017: Everyone wants to use Article 44!
2016: Article 44 got dull
2015: Prayuth: “I cannot use Article 44 to solve every problem” after pressed to solve EU concerns on fishing
2015: Pressuring the PM to use his absolute power: Everyone loves Article 44
2015: The Withering of Article 44
2015: The power of Article 44 won’t last for long
2015: It is important to realize that the military does not really have absolute power. Power in the Thai world is highly decentralized and it is extremely difficult for the military to control everything. In the following case, the police refused to strip Thaksin of his rank as ordered by the military by throwing up procedural hurdles. The use of Article 44 to strip Thaksin of his rank in this case demonstrated the failure of the junta to to be able to control the police: Bypassing official channels, Prayuth uses Article 44 to strip Thaksin of his rank
Suan Dusit Poll: Using Article 44
March 1, 2017
Since Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha, the Prime Minister and the head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), has used his power through the Article 44 of the interim Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, BE 2557 to reconcile, maintain peace and suspend and prevent potential offenses occurring in the country, there is still the criticism about the use of the Article 44 from those who are satisfied and dissatisfied. To reflect the people’s views, Suan Dusit Poll by Suan Dusit University conducted the survey of people across the country with the total of 1,180 people during February 20-24 February 2017. The results are as follows:
1. Which the use of the Article 44 satisfies the public the most?
1st Suppress corruption 86.61%
2nd Suppress influential people and the mafia 80.68%
3rd Suppress [illicit] drugs 74.83%
4th Police appointment and rotation 72.03% [meaning to prevent the widespread buying of police promotions and stopping appointments to benefit political parties–both characteristics of Thaksin-controlled governments which the junta opposes]
5th Organize society 68.47% [various acts for the perceived good of society]
2. Besides the existing Article 44 uses, what else does the public want the Article 44 to be used for?
1st Manage welfare to cover from birth until retirement 78.30% [meaning to create a social welfare system]
2nd [Combat] Violent crimes causing a terror to society 73.81%
3rd Solve traffic problems, urban development, mass transit systems 62.71% [the junta has forced through dozens of long-delayed mass transit plans–this is particularly disheartening to political parties which have long used the approval of such plans to reward business allies and kick back money into the party]
4th Deal with issues that impact natural resources and the environment 61.78% [the junta has been doing the opposite of this in some areas–particularly forcing local communities to accept the construction of coal-fired power plants in their area]
5th [Regulate] Youth behaviors, such as fighting, gaming addiction and incorrect use of social media 55.76%
3. What do the people want to ask Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the PM and the head of the NCPO, to take into account for using the Article 44?
1st Use this special power with transparency and justice 82.97% [this is also the claim of the junta itself which claims it only uses the power in a transparent way to benefit the country]
2nd Carefully use and consider about the pros and cons of it 75.25%%
3rd Seriously and decisively use for a concrete outcome 67.46%
4th Clarify to the public on the background and the reasons for using Article 44 60.68%
5th Use for solving special cases–not using it repetitiously [using it too much] 58.29%
Suan Dusit Poll