Thursday, February 18, 2016

Coup politics in Thailand -Twentieth time lucky? Some generals come up with a new plan for saving Thailand from democracy

THE job of “returning happiness” to Thailand has put Prayuth Chan-ocha (pictured) in a foul mood. In January the irascible leader of the junta that seized power in May 2014 said he had resolved to “talk less, be less emotional and quarrel less with reporters.” Yet this month he was again apologising, through a spokesman, for flashes of anger at two press events. The cause of his ire was impertinent questioning about a proposed new constitution.

His temper may only get worse.

Mr Prayuth, a former general, this week reassured President Barack Obama at a summit for South-East Asian leaders in California that he is preparing the country for fresh elections. But first the junta wants to pass a new constitution which would keep the hands of elected politicians firmly tied. Mr Prayuth’s coup suspended the previous constitution, itself drawn up during another period of military rule following an earlier coup that also unseated a democratic government, in 2006. A draft for a new constitution that was presented last year proved too illiberal even for lackeys who sit in the army’s rubber-stamp councils. The generals ordered a rewrite. Their latest blueprint looks nearly as bad.

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