Sunday’s political analysis in Thai Rath carries a warning for the junta as summarized below:
The image of a military* parliament/legislature cannot be denied (ปฏิเสธไม่ได้กับภาพ “สภาท็อปบูต”). There was a quota for the various branches of the military. In the end, at least 100 of the NLA members are from the military and this doesn’t include police, civil servants, and state enterprise executives. The end result is complete control.
The NCPO has almost complete power over the NLA in the constitution [analysis goes into detail, but BP has already outlined it in this post so won’t summarize again]. This makes it convenient and quick to proceed with the roadmap, but this is also a negative point as well. The NCPO has control over the legislature and can push a button and they get what they want. These powers can also be used to provide benefits to their own, for example, with tax legislation. They won’t face the same obstacles that an elected parliament faces in normal times. This is what is dangerous and needs to be remembered.
We have seen with elected governments. They are in power. They don’t fulfil their goals as promised to the people. Power is used to benefit their own. They don’t listen to others and use their majority. They are then opposed and we have protests in the streets especially by the middle classes. This is what led to the coup.
Now, politicians have been banished from the NLA and the NCPO is like a political party now who controls half of parliament although it has even more control [than an elected government].
A majority of people have allowed the military to take over for large scale reform of the country as they are bored with politicians who continue to fight. The [people] want the [military] to implement new rules. The people are behind them to carry this out, but it doesn’t mean they will allow they to use absolute power for everything. With the control the military has now in the parliament it is more dangerous than a parliamentary dictatorship from an election as there is no opposition that can oppose laws. There is no process for full consideration of all issues.
Then under the system when a button can be pushed an action is taken, the [NLA] will proceed. Society won’t be listened too. Voices outside of parliament won’t be listened too. The surreptitious adding of laws or obscuring of giving benefits to some interests is there. A military legislature is unlikely to be different from an elected one. Don’t forget that they came into power by overthrowing [the Yingluck government] because of failure to listen to the people. Don’t repeat this [mistake].
BP: Not sure that BP agrees with some of what Thai Rath says, but will say that if you keep things bottled up and don’t allow people to vent their opinions that this can lead to an explosion at some point. For now this is in check because of the fear of the military stick, but how long will this last and what will be the trigger? As we are in Phase 2 and the security phase is over, how much dissent will the military allow? How much of a watchdog will the (mostly compliant) press be?**
*The transliteration of the Thai term is ‘top boot’, but this is a colloquial term in Thai – having been adopted from English – to refer to the military.
**Yet to see many critiques of the military giving themselves amnesty. Remembering that amnesty was seen as epitomy of evil last year and key factor in the anti-Thaksin forces being able to mobilize so many people against the Yingluck government, yet now it is glossed over and we are told it is normal.