The Charter Designed to Fail–Does Fail


From Thairath, August 26, 2015
Title: The Beauty queen shown to you.
Beauty queen: Don’t take out my intestines to see what’s inside.
On her sash: NCPO’s constitution beauty queen
On Borwornsak’s suit: Constitution Drafting Committee
Phi Nooring: Need to see it as though it’s beautiful.
Mouse: Beauty from the past to the future. [meaning the draft constitution was the same as restrictive charters from the past]
[This cartoon refers to the draft constitution created by the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC) led by Borwornsak Uwanno. This draft was criticized by many groups for helping the junta to maintain power and nearly all sides expected it to be passed.
“To take out someone’s intestine” is a Thai idiom meaning as to disclose the bad thing which someone is trying to hide.]

As previously noted, this was a charter “designed to fail.” And interestingly, today the hand-picked junta body voted down the charter draft.

This is a dilemma for Thaksin and his supporters. The Pheu Thai Party, the Red Shirts, and Thaksin were all on record opposing the draft. They were likely making this stance with the belief that their opposition would come into play during an eventual referendum. Then, the “no” vote from the referendum could be used to show that many people disagree with the military draft and thus an elected government would be justified in “fixing” it.

However, to kill the charter at this stage is a big plus for the junta. They can simply start the drafting process again and also claim that their hand-picked assembly was impartial and listened to the voices of the people by voting down the draft. All of this adds perhaps eight months more to junta rule to reinforce the idea to the political class that Thaksin is finished. It is fascinating that critics of the junta who had called the vote today a farce (expecting a “yes” vote from the puppet assembly for the “dictatorial” draft) now claim the “no” vote was a farce as well.

Thaksin and his supporters, anxious for another election, have little pretext for dissatisfaction. They had openly opposed the draft, but it seems they were lured into opposing the charter too early. The junta can claim that voting down the draft charter was exactly what Thaksin and the Red Shirts called for. However, it appears to have been a trap to further delay elections and extend junta rule.

This is certainly a setback for Thaksin-aligned supporters and will bring into focus the decision to either continue to wait patiently for elections or to believe that some sort of agitation would serve to destabilize the junta.

For now, the junta seems to be be comfortably in control. However, the order they bring is only by virtue of their direct power. Little real reform has taken place as their actions continue to be to craft a new political future for Thailand without Thaksin. This means extending their rule will always be the best option for them.


Update: Phue Thai key leader Phongthep thanks NRC for rejecing draft charter

And earlier: Junta Nixes Redshirt News Conference
…The Redshirt news conference was planned for the same day the junta appointees of the National Reform Council are expected to accept the draft charter. After that it will go to the public for a vote as early as January as part of the junta’s most recent “roadmap” to returning Thailand to civilian rule…

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