by Kabbas Azhar, ’18
A hand-picked 36 member constitutional drafting committee, headed by conservative law academic Bavornask Uwanno with known military sympathies, was recently appointed by the military junta in control of Thailand’s government. The committee is expected to draw up a proposal within four months, which will then be forwarded to the National Reform Council, upon whose approval the charter will become Thailand’s 20th constitution.
“My hope is that the new constitution will put a stop to past divisions and that the public will be as involved in its drafting as possible,” said General Prayuth Chan-ocha, junta-leader and former Prime Minister.
According to Kan Yuenyong, political analyst at the Siam Intelligence Unit, “The committee will likely include a clause that prevents those who were banned from politics in the past from running in future elections.
Earlier this year on May 22nd 2014, after 6 months of political unrest, General Prayuth Chan-ocha declared martial law, citing the Martial Law Act of 1914 that provides armed forces with “superior power” during times of crises. Two days later, he declared a coup d’état.
Thailand has seen tremendous political unrest since 1932, when it first became a constitutional monarchy. Having undergone about a dozen successful coups, political has proven to be fleeting. The last coup that occurred was in 2006, where the new constitution that was established was widely seen as restrictive compared to prior constitutions. The new constitution is expected to clamp down even more on rights.