Junta's first steps to redefine democracy in Thailand
Bangkok Pundit is well-respected, and here are his views on how this junta will rewrite the Constitution, again, at least as far as the franchise is concerned:
In 2008, the PAD [yellows, previous incarnation of PDRC] proposed ‘New Politics’ in which up to 70% of MPs would be elected from various professions and 30% elected from constituencies. Essentially, the 70% (although in later reiterations it went down to as low as 50%), would be like the Hong Kong functional constituencies, with professions and business dominating. Chang Noi noted:
Since the logic of the PAD’s proposal is to disenfranchise the rural poor, this new system is likely to favour the rich, the urban, and the higher educated.
BP: This proposal has been on the backburner as the PAD have had little political influence, but Suthep essentially rekindled the idea with this People Assembly proposal in late 2013. BP saw little mention of the division between those elected from geographical constituencies (ie. what we have for MPs currently) versus functional constituencies. The implied suggestion is it would be 100% functional constituencies ....
The relevance of all of this is as per the Bangkok Post now:
All 200 members of the new National Legislative Assembly, the coupmakers’ new parliament, are likely to be appointed.
Members will also be appointed to the planned National Reform Council, which will comprise 150 members, 140 of from professional groups and educational institutions and the rest law experts, according to a Krungthep Turakit report, quoting a source in the NCPO [the junta].
The two bodies are instrumental in the planned second stage of the NCPO’s roadmap to reconciliation, reform and elections.
BP: Per Prayuth last Friday, the National Legislative Assembly will draft the Constitution, but the National Reform Council will be established to resolve conflicts so it is unclear the extent of the role the later will have in advising on constitutional reform. BP has previously predicated there is a good chance that the newly drafted constitution will seek to divide the lower house into geographical constituencies and functional constituencies. BP is unsure what the exact breakdown will be, but it is likely that the functional constituencies will compromise 30-50% of the seats.
It won’t matter any longer that the Democrats [yellows/PDRC] can’t win an election because they don’t need them to win. As long as they do okay then together with the functional constituency seats – which BP doesn’t have much doubt will go to the Establishment in a similar proportion to Hong Kong – the Establishment is unbeatable. Screw trying to come out with policies that people want to vote for when you can just change the rules of the game.
So, the path to "reconciliation, reform and elections" is to disenfranchise the majority of the population. Let me know how that works out.
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Note that the United States accomplishes the same goal in a less direct fashion. Voter ID laws and other forms of election shenanigains -- driven by Republicans, passively accepted by Democrats -- disenfranchise the same classes of people that the Thai junta may seek to do, if these proposals move forward. And there's no point, Democratic loyalists, in complaining about those mean Republicans. Where are the voting drives to re-enfranchise the disenfranchises, or even -- gasp! -- bring the non-voters into the system? Nowhere, that's where. That's one of the many reasons why the persistent Democratic view that they're really the good guys is such a PITA.
So, yes, this same fight is going on all over the world.