The New York Times wonders why a “new constitution that it [the junta] casts as an essential step toward restoring democracy” has seen the junta block “opponents from campaigning against the measure, banned election monitors and restricted news coverage of the referendum.”
It notes that “critics” say the proposed constitution will “extend the military’s influence for years to come.”
We doubt that the “vote will be the first major test of the military’s standing with the public, as much a referendum on the legitimacy of military rule as on the draft constitution” as the NYT suggests.It might have been if the event had been free and fair.
Its wasn’t, for “no matter the outcome, the junta will remain in control until it decides to hand power back to an elected government.” Even then, the military and other unelected bodies will control parliament’s actions. Military-controlled democracy is no democracy.
Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch, points to more than 100 arrests for referendum-related “offences.” He says: “This referendum is not legitimate…. This is a redo of a military coup, using fear and intimidation to force Thai people to grant an extension of their control of power.”
Panitan Wattanayagorn, an adviser to the junta declared himself in support of repression: “the public did not need an election campaign that could lead to more strife. Voters can decide by studying the 105-page document…”.
He’s always been a dedicated military pawn and lies about the draft. Almost no one has seen it or read it. It beats PPT why the NYT even speaks with such a dick. Perhaps only to get the expected quotes.
But he does drone: “The section on the parliamentary system [reducing its representativeness] is quite new in many regards…. It’s an attempt to control and regulate the politicians.”
That’s true. The military and its supporters and acolytes like Panitan hate the idea that the people should freely choose their representatives in a competitive political situation they do not control.
The International Federation for Human Rights is quoted:
The draft charter creates undemocratic institutions, weakens the power of future elected governments and is likely to fuel political instability…. If approved, the charter will allow the military and its proxies to tighten their grip on power and cement their influence in political affairs.
That’s true. The aim is to retain royalist authoritarianism.