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ISEAS Library Selects: Latest News on Thailand

ISEAS LIBRARY SELECTS: MONTHLY NEWS ON THAILAND 

MARCH 2016

1. CDC reduces power of charter court 'for crises': THE CONSTITUTION Drafting Commission (CDC) has decided where power will lie in critical legal situations when no clauses in the constitution are applicable. It will no longer reside with the Constitutional Court alone. Instead it will be up to the court, the heads of the three power branches and independent organisations to decide jointly which measures or rules should apply, the CDC has resolved. Also, the drafters have decided to transfer the Constitutional Court's power over the "ethical standards" of politicians and civil servants to the Supreme Court.

Nation, 9 March 2016
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/CDC-reduces-power-of-charter-court-for-crises-30281113.html

2. Senate 'should not select PM': PRIME MINISTER Prayut Chan-o-cha yesterday remained firm on his call for selected senators during a five-year transitional period, although he said they should not be authorised to vote for a prime minister. Suggesting that MPs should be exclusively authorised to pick the prime minister, as has been typical in the past, Prayut said the new charter draft should empower senators to "take care of the charter so it won't be stripped out by politicians".

A selected Senate should also promote good governance, national strategies and the junta-led reform agenda, he said. Prayut said elected senators had led to problems due to a lack of good governance in the past, adding that the Senate could be elected when voters were ready.
Nation, 9 March 2016
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Senate-should-not-select-PM-30281112.html

3. Thailand should look hard at the changes in Myanmar: THE THAI government needs to pay more attention to political developments in Myanmar and its capital Nay Pyi Taw. It doesn't matter whether Aung San Suu Kyi is able to assume the presidency

First and foremost: the nature of the new administration in Nay Pyi Taw is totally different from the outgoing one and notably from the current Thai regime. President Thein Sein, who will step down at the end of the month, is a former commander who heads the military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP). It would be more precise to say that the USDP is the civilian political wing of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Armed Forces).
Supalak Ganjanakhundee
Nation, 9 March 2016
http://www.nationmultimedia.com/politics/Thailand-should-look-hard-at-the-changes-in-Myanma-30281115.html

4. A new order needs to rise from the ashes: Blame it on Facebook or online communities where millions of people give their opinions and make their emotions known every day, unhindered.

We can also blame it on the ongoing drought, a failure of education or problems of inequality. The result will still be the same: Thai society has arrived at a point when the old order has crumbled while a new one has not been born.

It is a society where there is a cacophony of opinions, but no ability to form an agreement.
One thing that shows Thailand is in an existential crisis is a rapid breakdown of hegemonic powers and moral leadership.
Atiya Achakulwisut
Bangkok Post, 8 March 2016
http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/889828/a-new-order-needs-to-rise-from-the-ashes

5. Big Brother' up against rare political alliance: It's not often the two arch political rivals, the Democrat and Pheu Thai parties, see eye-to-eye on a controversial political issue.

In recent days, core members of both parties came out spontaneously against the proposal by the National Council for Peace and Order that the entire senate be appointed and serve a five-year transitional period after the next general election.

On top of that, the NCPO appears determined to stay in control for that five years, supposedly to make sure the government formed after the elections will not stray off the reform guidelines set by the national strategic committee, which has Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha at its head and several of his brothers-in-arms in the NCPO as members.
Veera Prateepchaikul
Bangkok Post, 8 March 2016
http://www.bangkokpost.com/opinion/opinion/890076/big-brother-up-against-rare-political-alliance

6. Authoritarian rule and the dimming of Thailand's star: Bangkok is no longer the regional nexus. Aspiring and career-building ambassadors now prefer alternative postings because not much can get done at high-level diplomatic engagements, as the military government in Bangkok is shunned by much of the rest of the world. There are bilateral and diplomatic accomplishments to be had with more authoritarian countries, like China and Russia, but envoys from democracies can find only crisis-management work in a holding pattern if posted to Bangkok. Only veteran ambassadors up for a last posting, as opposed to those who are younger and up-and-coming, still consider Bangkok attractive for an enjoyable last hurrah. Moreover, Bangkok is no longer the hub for diplomatic coverage of mainland South-east Asia, as a host of embassies have been set up in Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia.
Thitinan Pongsudhirak teaches international political economy and directs the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.
Straits Times, 8 March 2016
http://www.straitstimes.com/opinion/authoritarian-rule-and-the-dimming-of-thailands-star