Limiting charter debate

The military junta’s repression of alternative voices on the military’s draft charter continues as its illegitimate referendum approaches.

The Bangkok Post reports that the junta’s chief spokesman at the anti-election Election Commission, Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, has warned and threatened Mahidol University’s Institute of Peace and Human Rights Studies over a document it has released on the draft charter.

Remember that this is the regime that repeatedly declares that it does not restrict freedom of expression.

Nasty clown Somchai declared that the higher education institution was “skating on thin ice following the release of its latest charter document.” He reckoned that the Institute’s document “was close to violating the referendum law.”

As is now common under the deeply Orwellian dictatorial regime, Somchai didn’t explain how or why the Institute’s document potentially violated the draconian referendum law.

Somchai complained about three “documents” that he considered “were clearly in violation of the referendum law.” These are the “New Democracy Movement’s ‘Seven Reasons to Reject the Charter’ leaflet; several thousands of letters mailed to residents in Chiang Mai, Lampang and Lamphun [which may have originated within the regime]; and a summary of the draft charter in eight lines on the StopFakeThailand Facebook page.”

Responding to the vague claims by dangerous dolts like Somchai, the NDM’s Rangsiman Rome urged Somchai to “explain why the group’s document infringed on the referendum law, saying the group cannot defend or explain itself if Mr Somchai does not elaborate.”

The Nation reports the NDM’s seven points:

First, the booklet said, Article 52 of the draft gives the military overwhelming power by giving it a role in developing the country.

Second, Clause 2 of Article 279 legitimised every action carried out by the junta regardless of possible human rights violations.

Third, the coup-makers would also have influence in appointing the Constitutional Court judges and key figures in independent agencies, which will be selected by the junta-appointed Senate.

Fourth, the charter could not be amended without military approval because one-third of the Senate must approve amendments.

Fifth, the draft allows the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to continue in power until the new government is appointed, while the prime minister could continue to resort to utilising the broad powers of Article 44.

Sixth, Article 65 stipulates that the national strategic committee, appointed by the current junta government, would have the authority to make suggestions and issue warnings to future elected governments in line with junta-designated strategic plans.

Finally, the draft would create a “military party” in Parliament because there would be 500 MPs and 250 junta-appointed senators, meaning the military would have the power to legislate and screen laws.

NDM says it will “continue distributing copies of the document to the public ahead of the referendum.”

%d bloggers like this: