UPCOMING PUBLIC SEMINAR: "2015 Constitution and Thailand's Political Reform: Solution or Dead-end" [3 September 2015]


13:30 - 16:30, Alumni Meeting Room, 12th Floor, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University

Co-organized by Center for Social Development Studies (CSDS), Chulalongkorn University; Peace Information Center, Thammasat University; Social Research Institute, Chulalongkorn University; Union for Civil Liberty; and Human Rights Lawyers Association

This event was held at the alumni hall of Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University at 1 PM. There were a number of participants from a combination of human right organization, people's freedom organization, academics and press. The key speakers are, Dr. Likit Therawekin, Mr.Adisorn Kerdmongkol, Dr. Chanthana Wankeaw, Mr. Pairoj Polpetch and Dr. Bantoon Sethasiroj who is a member of the drafting committee.

The forum began by Dr.Likit giving a critical opinion towards Thai's 2015 constitutional draft, by pointing out some elements that may violate the democratic principles. First, he pointed out his concern about the major number of senates (who are very much influential to the house of representative in Thailand) who were constituted to the position through the process of selection. He feared that this had no guarantee that these selected senates would represent the will of citizens. He also added that the new draft allowed prime minister nominees that were not from the house of representatives which open up a channel for those who are not democratically elected to intervene. His last point was to condemn the existence of the national conciliation and reform committee which could arbitrarily intervene anytime they declared crisis. He remarked that the so-called crisis may or may not be "artificial"(referred as a set-up crisis) and there would be no agreed definition towards "crisis time" to refer to and justify the intervention of this committee. 

Mr. Pairoj continued by giving comments regarding fundamental rights mentioned in the draft. He emphasized specifically on how the draft was written entitling only "Thai citizens" to obtain certain fundamental rights such as the right to live as families, education, free speech, labor rights and others that maybe a subject to discrimination.  He also raised a question whether the politburo standing committee newly introduced by the draft was appropriate in this highly democratized current. No one can foresee the dynamic of the politburo and the new government. The possibilities could be that the government would be too submissive to independently function or the two strong influences would clash and cause some disastrous consequences. 


On the other hand, Dr. Bantoon, a member of the drafting committee defended the draft in a polite manner that a lot of elements were written especially to solve the on-going crisis which may not appear common in the school of liberal democracy. He claimed that the committee had received a number of similar comments about the draft being non-democratic in the past. Regardless of that, the drafting committee tried to seek as much opinions as possible to find the most compromise balance. And it is up to the public to decide if the draft was to be passed. 

The forum was actively participated by other speakers adding some more detail regarding these main points. One comment from an observer suggested that the draft should be written on the basis of the involvement of the military in this particular crisis and therefore should reform together with other institutions, rather than excluding it out of the overall picture and act like a mediator. Furthermore, useful ideas and comments were being brought up also by the listeners during the Q&A session which made the forum very provocative. 

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