Suan Dusit conducted a poll between Aug 13-17 surveying 1,174 people in Bangkok and its neighboring provinces on the subject of “Constitution Court in the eyes of the people”. Details of the response group are available from Matichon.*
Q. When people were asked whether they had confidence in the Constitution Court, the answers were
-37.62% – have little confidence. Reasons given were that for some previous decisions was a decision of double standards.
-23.53% – have confidence. Reasons given were belief in the process, way the constitution court considers decisions etc
-19.31% – have no confidence. Reasons given is delay in decisions and politics interfering.
-17.54% – have a lot of confidence. Reasons given was that court has duty to uphold the law. Judges have ability.
Q. When people were asked what had caused them to have less confidence in the court.
-47.82% answered that it was decisions related to various political protest groups
-43.47% answered that it was decisions related to dissolution of political parties
-8.71% answered that it was related to the Thaksin share concealment case
BP: So, 57% have little or no confidence in the court…. Given the role of the court in the past few years of dissolving political parties and banning politicians (and not dissolving other political parties), it is not surprising to see how confidence has fallen. However, in the 2001 case against Thaksin in which he won narrowly, meant that there is a lack of confidence from a different perspective as well.
In recent years, the judiciary have played an increased role – see here, here, and here. One additional problem that BP sees – and why BP is surprised that there was even a poll on this issue! – is contempt of court. If you criticise members of the judiciary or their decisions, they will charge you with contempt (also see these posts about contempt of court here and here) where those who you criticise will act in judgment on what you said. This hasn’t stopped the judiciary from making public comments criticising politicians and the political system. Who will guard our judicial guardians?
Can the judiciary really act as the entity to settle political disputes?
*Not sure why, but this poll is not available on the Suan Dusit website. In case, you were wondering if Matichon has pulled this poll out of thin air, BP can report the poll has received widespread coverage in the Thai language media across all newspapers – Than Setakit, ASTV Manager, Daily News, Post Today etc.
Btw, there is a Wikileaks cable entitled “THAI PRIME MINISTER SOMCHAI DISREGARDS ARMY COMMANDER’S SUGGESTION HE RESIGN” (08BANGKOK3143) date October 17, 2008 and the key paragraph is:
6. (C) Anuporn Kashemsant, a foreign liaison officer for the Queen in the Principal Private Secretary’s office, remarked to us October 17 that various political maneuvers were ongoing. He said ”a coup like what happened September 19, 2006 is not one of the options” for resolving Thailand’s political crisis, because the military had proven it was incapable of running the country. His qualification evoked the remark of former Prime Minister Anand Panyarachun on October 16 (ref A) to Charge that there would not be ”a coup in the traditional sense of the word.” Anuporn hinted that significant developments likely would take place in the coming days, but refused to predict what might occur, beyond saying there were two possible paths forward.
BP: Indeed, there was not a coup in the traditional sense of the word, but there was a judicial coup about 6 weeks later…