Still an unelected PM

There was some social media attention to what was seen by some as a backward step by the junta on having The Dictator become premier after an “election.”

There had been reporting that the “extra question” in the “referendum” was being interpreted as a way of having a military-appointed senate nominate the prime minister.

According to some, this has now been “clarified.”

Khaosod reports that there has the “Senate under the new constitution will have the authority to nominate its own candidates for prime minister only if the upper and lower houses fail to choose one…”.

To us, the difference between the two positions makes little practical difference. The military junta can still effectively control who becomes premier:

According to … Jate Sirataranont, who sits on the [NLA] assembly commission for interpreting the new charter, the next upper and lower houses will jointly vote for a new prime minister, which requires two-thirds of votes to pass.

Only elected MPs have the right to nominate candidates, but the senate votes with the house, meaning a veto by the senate will be possible. Then the senate can nominate its own candidate for PM and control the joint voting.

Khaosod observes that:

In Thailand’s previous charter, which was dissolved when the junta seized power in May 2014, only Members of Parliament voted for a Prime Minister, and the Senate was not involved. The previous charter also required the Prime Minister to be a Member of the Parliament, while the new charter does not.

A military-selected and approved premier remains the likely outcome.

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