BANGKOK – The Military-Appointed Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), reports the first draft of Thailand’s new Constitution – the country’s 20th since 1932 – has been completed, nearly a year since the military coup voided its previous charter.
The new Constitution will introduce to the nation many new elements, according to the Constitution Drafting Committee (CDC), which comprises 36 members.
The new charter is largely shaped by concerns over past political problems such as the monopoly of power by elected officials, lack of check and balances, money politics, and corruption, according to the committee.
“We would like to see to it that every politician must comply with the rules and morality as well; not only laws, but also ethics. So we set up the so-called National Ethic Council to oversee the behaviour of politicians,” said Dr Suchit Bunbongkarn, Deputy Chairman of the Constitution Drafting Committee.
The council, according to another drafter Dr Jade Tonavanik, will be people-centric. “The real power is with the people. In creating some of the new assemblies, for example, the people’s assembly, the ethical council, all these will be the people-centric organisations in order to scrutinise their politicians,” explained Dr Jade.
Under the new Constitution, the new Senate will be entirely appointed by state committees, and a non-elected person can become a Prime Minister in an emergency situation.
However, some observers are concerned about these clauses, which they claimed are undemocratic.
“There is a lot of transfer of power from elected body to the non-elected ones,” said Dr Siripan Ngsuan Sawasdee, Political Analyst from Chulalongkorn University.
“During 1992 May incident, people fought and died for democracy, for having an elected MP. And now we seem to forget about that and we allow for this to happen again. For me, this is a kind of devaluation of elections.”
The draft Constitution will face its first public scrutiny later this month by the military-appointed National Reform Council. At the earliest, it could come into effect by September this year. However, the process could also be delayed if the military decides to hold a referendum on the new charter.