Agam's Gecko
Monday, October 02, 2006

he Nation newspaper published the beginnings of an English translation of the interim constitution yesterday, updated as translation continues. It's up to Article 29 now, with (I think) 10 more to go.

I found His Majesty's opening proclamation very significant. He begins with a statement to grant the interim constitution of "October 1, Buddhist Era 2549, which is the 61st year of the present reign." He then continues,
Phrabat Somdet Phra Paramintharamaha Bhumibol Adulyadej Mahitalathibet Ramathibodi Chakkri Narubodin Sayammintharathirat Borommanatthabophit is graciously pleased to proclaim that:

The leader of the Council for Democratic Reform successfully staged the coup on September 19 B. E. 2549 and presented a report to His Majesty.

The CDR leader informed His Majesty that he seized power and abolished the constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand with an intention to solve the problems of the people's losing confidence in the country's administration, the lack of efficiency in the supervision of the administration, and the monitoring of the state power. The problems led to massive corruption and malfeasance with no one being brought to justice, which has become a political crisis and caused rifts among members of the society, who were incited to take sides, causing the decline in the national unity and social crisis.

Although several sectors have tried to solve the crises, their attempts failed and the situation worsened to the point that there could be violence and clashes which could cause bloodshed.
A very succinct description of the dangerous political stalemate in effect through most of 2006, and quite frankly stated for a Royal Proclamation, I would say. The current solution to resolve the "severely detrimental" situation, is described as "an appropriate and interim ruling mechanism" in line with traditions and customs. He continues,
The interim mechanism is also aimed to restore love and unity, the economy, the law and order, to create strong system to check and investigate corruption, to establish good ethical system, to promote and protect the rights and liberty of the people, to have the country respect the UN treaties and treaties and agreements with other countries, to promote the country's ties with international communities and to promote Thais to adopt the self-sufficiency economy.

At the same time, the interim constitution will ensure sped-up attempts to draft and enact a new Constitution with broad public participation in every step.
In respect to the role of President of the National Security Council, several foreign media have reported that Gen. Sonthi will retain the right to remove the Prime Minister or any members of the Cabinet. This is not accurate. This is how that power is described in Article 14:
The King has the prerogative to remove the Prime Minister from office as advised by the President of the Council for National Security and the King has the power to remove Ministers from office as advised by the Prime Minister.
The CNS has the role to advise HM regarding the Prime Minister, but the PM retains authority over his cabinet. The perogative in these matters rest with the King.

Reporters seem to also be having difficulties with the scene yesterday of PM Surayud Chulanont at the palace ceremony, where it was noted that he wore a fancy uniform. Implications were being made that this demonstrates a continuance of military dictatorship, or something.

Perhaps these reporters might check pictures of Thaksin's swearing in ceremonies, or of Chuan Leekpai, the former PM from the Democrat Party. Fancy white uniforms with gold braid etc. are the standard for these formal occasions. During June's 60th Coronation anniversary celebrations, Thaksin and all his ministers were wearing them when they met foreign dignitaries. Heck, if a schoolteacher is running for elected office, her campaign posters (more often than not) will feature the candidate in this same formal dress. Sheesh, get a grip, journalists!

Long Live His Majesty the King.


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