Back when the military-directed 2007 constitution was put to a referendum, two claims were made to lubricate the electorate and to coax opponents. One was that the draft, if approved, could be easily changed later. The second was that if the draft was rejected in the referendum, then the promised election would be interminably delayed.
In the end, the draft was approved and changing it proved virtually impossible (except for the military-backed Democrat Party’s government), with the politicized Constitutional Court repeatedly standing in the way of changes that were proposed.
As the 2016 constitutional referendum on the junta’s charter draws closer, the same tricks are being rolled out again.
Trick 1 is reported in the Bangkok Post that the puppet Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), via chairman Meechai Ruchupan, has moved “to entice people into voting for the draft charter first, with any amendments, if needed, to be undertaken later.”
The provisions of the draft charter make amendment almost impossible, and that is how the military junta intends it.
Trick 2 is reported in another Post story. Dumpy Deputy Prime Minister General Prawit Wongsuwan has warned that if the “draft constitution is voted down in the referendum a new committee would be set up to draft another new one, meaning the general election may have to be delayed beyond 2017…”.
He was following up on a similar threat by The Dictator, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who seemed to relish the idea of staying on in power and delaying the promised (2015 originally) election beyond 2017.
Old tricks seem to fit this junta nicely.