The Interim Constitution Draft for the Kingdom of Thailand (2006)

28 09 2006

The Nation

28 September 2006

The Council for Decmocratic Reform has released the first draft of the Interim Consitutition two days ago.

Preamble

The Interim Constitution is designed to outline the administrative mechanisms during the transition from coup to democracy. It gives due consideration to:

1 the accepted legal principle of democratic rule with His Majesty the King as the head of state;

1 the restoration of social unity;

1 the revitalisation of the economy;

1 social peace;

1 the basic rights and liberties of citizens;

1 the country’s obligations under the United Nations and international treaties and agreements;

1 and to the theoty of the self-sufficiency economy.

(Note: CDRM has changed to “CDR” but the draft refers to CDRM and will switch to the new term upon enactment. On a separate post will discuss the change of CDRM to CDR)

Article 1 prescribes a constitutional monarchy and the Kingdom of Thailand as a singular state

Article 2 deals with the dispensing of sovereign power via legislation, the government and the courts of justice.

Article 3 guarantees basic rights, human dignity and equality under the law in accordance with democratic rule under His Majesty the King as head of state. It also deals with international obligations.

Article 4 deals with matters relating to the Privy Council.

Article 5 outlines the formation and duties of the National Legislative Assembly, which will consist of 250 members representing professional groups, geographical areas and various sectos of society.

Article 6 spells out the process for removing the assembly’s members.

Article 7 empowers the chairman of the Council of National Security to countersign the Royal command to appoint an assembly speaker and deputy speaker.

Article 8 outlines the process for impeaching assembly members. It will take 20 votes to endorse an impeachment motion and a two-third majority for removal.

Article 9 prescribes the assembly’s meeting procedures.

Article 10 allows the Cabinet or minimum of 25 assembly members to sponsor draft legislation.

Article 11 sets the procedures for filing motions and launching censure debates without taking a vote.

Article 12 empowers the Cabinet to convene the assembly to debate issues.

Article 13 grants immunity for remarks made on the floor.

Article 14 deals with the appointment and removal of the prime minister and 35 Cabinet members.

Article 15 spells out the procedures for enacting Royal decrees relating to financial matters.

Article 16 spells out the procedures to enact Royal decrees on non financial matters

Article 17 deals with the procedures for coutersigning Royal commands.

Article 18 guarantees the independence of the judiciary.

Article 19 spells out the formation of the National Assembly, made up of 2,000 members appointed by the chairman of the Council of National Security.

Article 20 empowers the Legislative Assembly speaker to chair the National Assembly.

Article 21 spells out the peer vote process for the National Assembly to elect 200 candidates for the Consitutional Drafting Council (CDC). The peer vote must be completed in seven days. Ift he process fails, the CDC candidates must be selected from the cnadidates with the most votes.

Article 22 empowers the Council of Natinal Security to pick 100 of the 200 CDC candidates for Royal approval.

Article 23 spells out procedures to remove and replace the 100 CDC members.

Article 24 empowers the chairman of the Council of National Security to appoint the CDC chairman and deputy chairman.

Article 25 empowers the CDC to select 25 charter writers from among its peers, and the Council of National Security to name 10 charter writers.

Article 26 deals with the public hearing on the charter draft. It requires the CDC to fully explain how and why the new draft would differ from the 1997 Consitution.

Article 27 deals with the debate to amend the charter darft.

Article 28 spells out how the CDC must factor in the public hearing and the debate on proposed amendments to the charter draft before drawing up the final version.

Article 29 sets a 180 days deadline to complete the drafting of the charter. It then sets out a referendum on the new charter within 30 days.

Article 30 sets a 45 days deadline for the drafting of organic laws and bans the chairman of the Council of National Security, members of the National Legislative Assembly and those involved in writing the cahrter from contesting general and Senate elections for two years.

Article 31 and 32 empowers the joint meeting of the Cabinet and the Council of National Security to select and amend one of the previous charters to promulgate within 30 days if the writing of the new charter is not completed in time.

Article 33 allows the issuing of a Royal decree on pay and benefits for the Council of National Security, the National Legislative Assembly and other bodies tasked with writing the new charter.

Article 34 empowers the Council of National Security to call a joint meeting with the Cabinet in order to resolve administrative problems.

Article 35 deals with the formation of a Constitution Tribunal, consisting of the president of the Supreme Court, the president of the Supreme Administrative Court, five Supreme Court judges and two Supreme Administrative Court judges. The ribunal is to replace the defunct Consitution Court.

Article 36 provides legal validations for all orders and announcements issued by the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM).

Article 37 grants complete immunity for all actions leading to the seizure of power by the CDRM.

Article 38 prescribes the compliance with legal and administrative traditions for issues not addressed by consitutional provisions.

Article 39 empowers the chairman of the Council of National Security to administer the country pending the appointment of a prime minister.

When the 39 articles were released, people strongly questioned the role of the CDR. It seems like they are going to stay for a longer period than we thought, the two weeks period they promised. Well, if we listened to the interview given by Gen Surayud Chulanont, member of the Privy Council, yesterday, he viewed Thaksin’s return as a threat to national security. Does the CDR intend to stay on to safeguard national security until Thaksin returns? The longer they stay in power, the more people will go against them. I am sure they realise this fact. They have to weight their decision whether to let go or stay against people’s wish.


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