This post updates our earlier post on royal constitutional meddling.
In the Bangkok Post, the king’s demands become “advice” and the report adds:
Under the interim charter amendment bill proposed by the government, when the prime minister submits the new constitution for royal endorsement and if the King makes observations about any charter amendments within 90 days of the new charter being submitted, the prime minister must ask for the document back so amendments can be made at the King’s behest.
Afterwards, the prime minister will resubmit the amended new charter for royal endorsement within 30 days of the document being sent back to the prime minister.
The report states that Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam stated that “in principle the charter provisions that are to be amended are Sections 5, 17, and 182.” Looking at the draft, section or article 5 does not seem to involve the king, section 17 does, and section 182 relates to the countersigning of laws.
In another report, Wissanu suggests that changes to these articles will have wider impacts on other articles in the constitution.
So much for claims about the “will of the people” being expressed in the “referendum.”
If these really are the parts to be amended, they suggest major changes and increases to royal power are likely, further rolling back the post-1932 efforts to constitutionalize the monarchy.
Update 1: Interestingly, the efforts to block sites like PPT, including Facebook pages of critics overseas, is the heaviest we have seen for many months. We can only assume that the junta is either deeply embarrassed or not wanting any negative commentary on the king and his efforts to have the draft constitution changed.
Update 2: The Nation has a story stating that one article the king demands be changed relates to “Article 3, which involved a new stipulation: ‘Should the King not reside in the Kingdom or should the King not be able to perform his duty for any reasons, the King shall or shall not designate a regent by his preference and such a command shall be countersigned by president of the Parliament.’ The passage was to be added to the existing Article 2 of the charter.” This change would allow the king to act officially wherever he is – presumably at home in Germany.