23 May 2024

A former election commissioner has warned that political tensions in Thailand are likely to reach boiling point in October, dubbed the “cursed October”, because the only parliamentary channel, through which the heat can escape, has been closed.

 

“Do not blame anyone,” said Mr. Somchai  Srisutthiyakorn, now director of the Political Research and Development Centre of Rangsit University, adding that the decision yesterday, by a parliamentary majority, to stall the constitutional amendments by setting up a three-party panel to study the amendments for a month, before they are returned to Parliament for further debate and voting, is not a delaying tactic, as widely interpreted, “but a sign of fear of the power of public resentment”.

In his Facebook post today, he said that the two-day debate in Parliament on the amendments, especially the speeches by military senators, reflect the self centred attitude that “it is only with me that the nation will survive and the others are dumb or careless. The people cannot be trusted and are afraid to let the people elect their representatives to write the charter.”

 

He praised the protest leaders for their ability to mobilize people at short notice and to control them, pointing out that they did not break into Parliament or try to block the legislators from leaving at the end of the debate.

The former election commissioner also cited the reasons why the Senate opposes the proposal for a Constitutional Drafting Assembly to rewrite the charter.

 

The reasons are claimed to be:

  • Many career senators will become jobless if there is no Senate
  • Many retired government officials will be jobless if the qualifications of members of independent organizations are changed
  • Military officers would not like the Prime Minister being elected by MPs
  • Politicians and members of independent organizations will be hard pressed if the people can impeach them
  • Several people will lose face if the 20-year national reform strategy is revoked
  • Small parties will be wiped out if there are two ballots and there is a minimum vote limit for a party to qualify for a House seat.