Democracy: On Thailand’s Constitutional Day, “Fact Sheet” on Thailand’s constitution situation

By Tammy, Thai Intel’s humanity journalist

Today is Thailand’s Constitutional Day. And today reminds me of a small round plaque, lost somewhere at a vast Royal Plaza, where soldiers some 80 years ago, took absolute powers from the Thai King-where the Thai King, later granted Thailand’s first constitution to the Thai people. Since then, Thailand have had a multiple number of constitution, most of them, related to tearing up constitutions and writing news ones, after a military coup.

What happened in the about past 10 years, can serve as a “Symbol” of what had occurred in the past, with Thailand’s constitution.

Fact One: About 10 years ago, the people’s constitution came into being, through the election of the Thai people for representatives to write the constitution. The constitution sees an elected Senate and independent units elected by Parliament. The lower house was elected also.

Fact Two: In 2006, there was a coup, that cited as every coup in the past did, of corruption by Thaksin and threat to King. Fact is, Transparency International ranking sees Thaksin least corrupt in the ranking history and there was never any substantive proof that Thaksin was attempting to establish a Republic.

Fact Three: The 2006 coup government went about writing a constitution, meaning the current constitution, with a Senate half appointed, and thus indirectly, the independent units, were detached much from the people. The constitution also said any part of the temporary military constitution, was legal under the military constitution. Thus, the current constitution is in fact, a combination of two constitutions.

Fact Four: The constitution was written in such a speed, many clause were pass by the military parliament, without enough members presents to legally vote for the clause passage. Therefore, if tracked back, much of the current constitution is illegal.

Fact Five: The 2006 coup constitution was put to the Thai people to vote on, and passed with about 60% approval vote, where most analysts said it failed to get the majority needed for such an important mandate for the country. The coup government told the Thais, ahead of that vote, to accept the constitution, for later amendments and if not accepted, Thailand will be governmented under the 2006 coup constitution.

Fact Six: Thailand erupted into a political crisis a few years back, where Aung San Suu Kyi was quoted as saying, “Thailand is the proof that a military constitution does not work.”

Fact Seven: Yingluck won the last general election, by a landslide on promise to amend the constitution and populous policies. And said in Parliament address on her victory, amending the constitution is one of her top priority.

Fact Eight: About a year after the election, Yingluck attempted to amend the constitution, with the vote on the passage of the third reading of the amending process in Parliament.

Fact Nine: While Abhisit’s Democrat Party exploded into violence inside Parliament and his supporter protested in front of Parliament over a “Reconciliation Bill” Thailand’s Constitutional Court, on the same day, said passage of the third reading, could be against the constitution and illegal.

Fact Ten: It is a mystery why the Constitutional Court said that, on that day, when Thailand verged on total chaos, but the court said it was to calm Thai political waters. However, after that move by the court, the “reconciliation Bill” was forgotten, and all eyes turned to a new crisis, meaning the “Constitutional Crisis.”

Fact Eleven: Thailand’s Red Shirts leader, issued a statement, saying that, quote: “We can accommodate anything, but on amending the constitution, we will not give. If Thailand’s will be destroyed by a Constitutional Crisis, let all of us, those fighting for Democracy and the Establishment, be destroyed together.”

Fact Twelve: However, Thailand’s constitutional court, in defining the word “And” to mean “Or” said it had power to rule that amending the constitution by Parliament might be against the law, and threatened to “Disband” Yingluck’s political party.

Fact Thirteen: An outraged public and threat of Thailand returning to civil war sees the Constitutional Court back-off, gave a ruling sort of compromised, where most sees that ruling as a trap, that if Yingluck went forward, her party could still be disbanded.

Fact Fourteen: Yingluck is attempting to amend the constitution again, beefed up, by stronger political footing with the public, after the flooding weakened her and currently, under her, Thailand’s economy is rock solid.

Fact Fifteen: Poll of the Thai people, sees the biggest segment of about 40% said Yingluck should go forward with the amending, however, all polls says the Thais are concerned that the amendment will risk a political crisis, and urged Yingluck to be careful.

Fact Sisteen: The Thai appointed senators and pro establishment press like the Bangkok Post and Nation, are starting a campaign against the amending of the constitution, citing the so called “Bangkok Liberal” philosophy, where politics is better off with the “Good People” elected or not, and should not be left with the “Bad Politician.”

Fact Seventeen: Several of Thailand’s government close to Thaksin were disbanded by the Constitutional Court and Abhisit’s Democrat Party case let off for technicalities. And despite Transparency International ranking that Thaksin is less corrupt than the 2006 coup government and Abhisit government, Thailand’s anti corruption independent unit, “Zero” in on Thaksin’s corruption, with little activity on the other two.