Well the timeline to the most democratic elections in Thailand’s history is becoming clearer, here’s a table from the clever folks of Maybank Kimeng detailing the events.
Fig 1. Roadmap to democracy based on our expected dates
Constitutional referendum.
Amendment of charter draft by adding provisional clause that the junta’s senators will join MPs in choosing PM.
Following the King’s consideration, the draft was returned for amendments to be carried out on the section regarding the exercise of royal powers.
The draft has been re-submitted for royal endorsement.
6 Apr
The promulgation of the new charter.
Reconciliation proposals to be drawn up.
Royal cremation of the late King.
Finishing drafting 10 organic laws, which will govern the new political system. Four of those are to be finished within 240 days of the charter draft being royally endorsed. They are necessary for general elections, with a focus on two bills governing the Election Commission and political parties, before the bills regarding MPs and senators. Hearing people’s opinions can be done on websites.
Parliament scrutinizes the four laws within 60 days. Those laws will be forwarded to the government. The government has 20 days before seeking royal endorsement. The King is to sign the laws within 90 days.
General elections (within 150 days after the four laws being effective).
Will this timeline hold is naturally the next question and that depends upon a litany of events and some rumours I’ve been hearing that may further postpone the elections:
1. There may be a change in PM before elections i.e. sometime in the next 2-3 months
2. The date of the cremation of the late King is yet to be set.
3. There would still need to be a coronation of the new King. (question: Whom shall he anoint as successor?)
4. The government would have to finish these new organic laws in time
5. I still don’t see which or want to believe that the parties are ready to put forward persons, I still can’t see why Abhisit is going to lead the Democratic party when it’s fairly obvious he wouldn’t win a majority vote…and from Pheu Thai or whichever party comes up as the opposition, who would they put forward?
6. None impact on elections: But it doesn’t matter in who wins in the end as the military will still effectively control parliament.
Have there been any changes to the constitution?
Oh yes…here’s a summary from the Bangkok Post, with zero comments…
  1. Section 5, the so-called crisis management clause, of the referendum version, provides that in cases where no provision applies to any case, a meeting will be convened among the heads of the Constitutional Court, Senate, Supreme Court, Supreme Administrative Court and independent organisations, as well as the speakers of the House, opposition leaders and the prime minister. The decision of the joint meeting shall be deemed final and binding on all state bodies. The new charter eliminated such clauses and changed it back to the text of the 2007 charter, which says: “Whenever no provision under this Constitution is applicable to any case, it shall be decided in accordance with the constitutional convention in the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State”.
  2. The second change involves Section 16 on the Regent. The referendum version requires the King appoint the Regent when he is not in the kingdom or could not perform duties. The new constitution dropped that requirement and the King may or may not appoint the Regent in such cases. He may also name a person or a group of persons as the Regent.
  3. Sections 17 and 18 did away with the requirement that the Privy Council name the Regent and send it to Parliament for approval when the King is not in the kingdom or cannot perform duties. The new charter requires the Privy Council propose for parliamentary approval the names of a person or group of persons on a list that His Majesty has previously made by consecutive order. Section 19 added a clause that does not require the Regent who has already been appointed and sworn in to be sworn in again.
  4. Section 19 added a clause that does not require the Regent who has already been appointed and sworn in to be sworn in again.
  5. The second clause of Section 182 of the referendum draft which says: “The person countersigning the Royal Command shall take charge of all affairs under the Royal Command” was cut as the first clause already says: “All laws, Royal Rescripts and Royal Commands relating to the State affairs must be countersigned by a Minister”.

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