Junta chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who is also the acting prime minister, has dissolved the Senate, the only remaining legislative body, and is set to assume legislative power, according to an order issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) last night.
The order said matters that are needed to be approved by the Senate or the House of Representatives will now be under the NCPO chief.
The dissolution of the Senate could pave the way for the appointment of a national legislative assembly to act as Parliament and draft a new constitution. The disbanding of the Senate ended speculation that the Upper House might appoint the next prime minister.
Prayuth told diplomats at Friday’s meeting that he would set up the assembly together with a reform council. The drafting of the charter would be carried out simultaneously with a national reform blueprint.
Thailand’s coup leaders say they are dissolving the country’s Senate and will assume all lawmaking power.
Saturday’s announcement, which was read out on television, strips away the last democratic institution in the country two days after the military seized power.
The junta suspended the constitution and dissolved the lower house of Parliament on Thursday. It had left the Senate in place, presumably in hopes the upper house might later approve some of its measures and provide a vestige of democracy. The reason for Saturday’s about-face was not known.
With the senate newly dissolved, former lawmaker Dr. Jetn Sirathranont — who had called on then-Prime Minister Yingluck to resign — said the general’s takeover came as no surprise. He gave it tacit endorsement.
“If you have the Senate, we will have the many senators who don’t agree with the coup detat.Someone may speak in the Senate against Gen. Prayuth,” said Jetn. “A “
BP: Indeed, it would be a travesty if someone would say something against Prayuth. Famine would break out around the world…
The Bangkok Post:
The NCPO also announced on Saturday evening that Pol Gen Adul Saengsingkaew had been moved to an inactive post in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Also moved to inactive posts were Tarit Pengdith, the head of the Department of Special Investigation, and Nipat Thonglek, the permanent secretary of the Defence Ministry. Both men had been seen as loyalists to the ousted government and former premier Thaksin Shinawatra.
Pol Gen Watcharapol Prasarnrajkit, the deputy national police chief, has been named the acting police chief. Pol Gen Chatchawal Suksomjit, another deputy national police chief, has been put in charge of the DSI, and Gen Surasak Kanjanarat, deputy permanent secretary for defence, has been named the defence permanent secretary.
BP: A few other senior police were also transferred (although one imagine they won’t have recourse to the courts… Like Thawil had). Activists, academics, students, and one journalist (Pravit of The Nation was singled out although can anyone find any mention of that in The Nation?)* have been summoned.
Protests are starting to spread although still small in size and number. The authorities are also continuing to detain some protesters. If the protests continue to spread and grow, the military will have to do something. One reason why you don’t have large-scale protests is that someone needs to organize them and mobilise people. This is hard to do under martial law, but also people are afraid to organise and attend because of the threat of arrest, jail, or possibly worse, but if protests continue and enough people view the threat to them is low enough, this will be like a domino effect and more people will protest. If the military mistreat protesters though then the military may also encourage protesters…