Sunday, October 1, 2006

Keeping an eye on the new constitution

The Nation (Oct. 1) posted the coup leader's Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim Edition) of B.E. 2549. I would like to urge all Thai bloggers to carefully study, keep a critical eye, and participate actively on its development. Here is the National Assembly's page providing the articles of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand. B.E. 2534 (1991)

The Interim Edition seems to have an emphasis on the structure of the National Asssembly, limiting the number of total representatives (MP, senate and parliament) to only 250. Why such a specific and limited number? Under the 1991 Consitution and Taksin government we had 500 MPs and 200 senators. The age limit of 35, I think was not specified before. I remember that Aphisit Vejjajiva became an MP when he was around 27.

The worst of Interim's proposal is this clause of Article 7:

"The president of the Council of National Security will countersign the royal command to appoint members of the National Assembly, president and vice president(s) of the National Assembly."

Notice that it's the Council of the National Security which is what the coup leaders are now, how democratic is that?

What I would like to see in the new constitutions a a guarantee/protection for the freedom of speech, and a provision recognizing of civil society organizations' place in all of this, maybe allowing an observer status in the parliament, and a secondary process where they are allowed to bring about political change. While we're at it, let's broaden the base for politcal participation, no?

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