Democracy: 5) No “Blast-Back” from Thai army chief yet, as a “Compromise” is hoped for in soldiers appointment authority


no blast-back from Prayuth as yet

For weeks, the issue of how to appoint or reshuffle the often coup staging friendly Thai soldiers-have simmered-where in Thailand, the 2006 coup constitution gave the power to the Thai military establishment.

Way back, the Thai Defense Minister gave hints of what to come when he said he will send the appointment and reshuffling law to the council of state to clear if it goes against the constitution.

And there have been several clashed between the government and the military-with both sides offering salvos against the other.

  • Early in the week, the Pheu Thai Party gave out its latest salvo-expecting a reaction from Prayuth, the Thai army chief-that by all accounts, controls the entire Thai armed forces.

However, Prayuth, on leave to Malaysia to discuss the Thai Deep South situation, was due back to Bangkok yesterday-to which his staff told the press not to go meet him at the airport.

Wassana, Bangkok Post national security journalist, however, Twittered, quote: “There is a coup with the Thai journalist because the press  have agreed to go and meet Prayuth, no matter what.”

  • But last night and this morning-there is very little news from Prayuth, except for Wassana article in the Bangkok Post saying, something like: “The Thai government and the military will clash soon.”

But the Pheu Thai Party is standing firm, as one after another important academic came out to support the government-citing that the Thai military can not exists as an independent state-based very much on the 2006 coup constitution that gave authority of appointment and reshuffling in the Thai military to a board consisting of top soldiers.

The law itself, while may not be constitutional, was included into the 2006 coup constitution, at the last second in a mysterious passage-as the military parliament ran out of time to debate the military constitution-and at parliament, records shows that the number of vote did not meet required voting regulations.

  • “The Pheu Thai Party will push for reform of the appointment and reshuffling law, and the party is not afraid of a coup,” says a Pheu Thai Party MP.

The Thai military have some powerful backers. The former government of Thailand under Abhisit, that enjoyed great support from the military, came out strongly against the amending of the law governing the that appointment and reshuffling-saying politics must be left out of the military involvement.

  • “The Defense Ministry is not a rubber stamp for the military,” said the Thai Defense Minister.

The situation is complex.

Matichon, a newspaper for the intellectual in Thailand, said quote: “Taksin meddled a great deal in the military appointment and reshuffling, causing a great deal of turmoil, appointing people close to him to the top spots. However, the military is doing the same thing by appointing people close to them to the top spot, causing also a great deal of turmoil.”

Therefore, the issue is not just how a democratic government should have control over the armed forces, but it is also about the rise of soldiers according to their professionalism and not just contacts.

  • However, the latest “Classified Rumors” is that something like a compromise could come about, where there is a shared board, between the military and the government-to consider the appointment and reshuffle.

The rumor says, the structure of the board, could in theory, bring about a better working relationship between the military and the government-where both sides interest are taken into account-however, already some critics says, the concept of a board may not work, as the board itself will also have a “Power Structure” that is inherent.

The following is from the Bangkok Post:

Gothom: Military has too much power

    Published: 6/10/2011 at 02:16 PM

    Online news: Local News

The Defence Ministry Administration Act of 2008 should be amended because it gives the military too much power, Gothom Arya, director of Mahidol University‘s Research Centre for Peace Building, said on Thursday.

Mr Gothom was a member of the committee of then-National Legislative Assembly which scrutinised the bill on defence administration. He voiced support for a call for the amendment of the law by the Pheu Thai Party and the red-shirts.

The law was especially intended to limit the political sector’s power to appoint high-level military officers.

While sitting on the scrutiny committee, he had proposed that resourceful people in other fields be allowed to take part in considering the military reshuffle.  But his proposal was voted down by a majority of the committee from the armed forces, said Mr Gothom, who is also a former member of the Election Commission.

Mr Gothom said the Defence Ministry should have a board comprising members from the government, military officers and resourceful people to consider the military reshuffle.

However, he admitted it would be difficult to amend the Defence Ministry Administration Act because of the military and politicians do not trust each other.

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