Today, Thailand’s Constitutional Court threw-out the February 2nd election. There is a great deal of comments on the court’s action, but perhaps the best is from Chuvit, a former opposition MP, local politician known to speak bluntly and from the heart, and Chuvit said, quote: “Today, Thailand’s Democracy Died.” Meanwhile Robert Amsterdam, an well known international lawyer, is predicting massive carnage in the future of Thailand.
(Up-Dated 1) Bangkok Post Reports: The Pheu Thai party disagrees with the Constitution Court’s ruling voiding the Feb 2 general election, its spokesperson said on Friday. According to Section 245 (1) of the charter, ombudsmen were not empowered to ask the court to consider the constitutionality of an election, the party said in a statement. Section 245 (1) provides the ombudsmen may submit a case to the Constitutional Court “if the provisions of any law beg the question of constitutionality”. Since an election is not a law, the ombudsmen could not challenge its legality, the party maintains. By the same token, it said, the court breached the constitution when it accepted the case because nothing in the charter allows it to do so. The Constitution Court on Friday voted 6-3 to nullify the election because it was not completed on the same day as required by the charter. Twenty-eight constituencies of 375 nationwide were unable to hold votes because no candidates had been able to register. Pheu Thai also pointed out that Friday’s court ruling created a problem. The Feb 2 polls could not run smoothly because anti-government protesters obstructed the process. The judgement has now set a precedent, it said. If a new election is called, anyone could easily render it void by using the same tactics. Pheu Thai also said the country’s problems stemmed from the efforts by the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) to use unconstituional means to seize governing power.
(Up-Dated 2) Bangkok Post Reports: Newly appointed chairman of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) Jatuporn Prompan is deeply fearful of the possibility of civil war, while insisting the red-shirt movement is focused on peaceful means. “It [civil war] is my top concern. As soon as there is a change [of administration] without respecting the majority, it is possible there could be chaos which could lead to civil war,” he told the Bangkok Post. Mr Jatuporn has taken the helm of the red-shirt movement, replacing Tida Tawornseth who stepped down citing the need for new leadership in the current “special situation”. Mr Jatuporn, who led the red shirts during protests to oust the Democrat-led government in 2010 which ended in bloodshed, insisted the UDD movement will avoid confrontation with anti-government groups. “Many people think I am a hardline leader and will lead the UDD toward violence, but those who are close to me know well I am very calm, particularly in critical situations like this,” he said. Mr Jatuporn, however, conceded that some hard-core red shirts want to adopt more aggressive strategies which would carry the risk of violence. “I’m trying to convince them to come back to our train of thought, which focuses on peaceful means,” he said, noting that any eruption of violence would allow rivals to blame it on the UDD.
The following is from Robert Amsterdam:
Robert is a lawyer for the Red Shirts at the international court, on the case of about 100 Red Shirts protesters killed in Abhisit’s crack-down a few years back. (Source)
Today we announce the release of our latest White Paper, entitled “Thailand: The Plot Against Democracy.”
The purpose of this White Paper is to alert the international community to an ongoing assault on democracy and the rule of law in Thailand, carried out by a coalition that includes members of the military, the courts, the public administration, the business world, the Democrat Party, among others. Further, it calls on the international community to throw its full-throated support behind the Yingluck government, aiding in its efforts to protect Thailand’s civilian population against the denial of its right to self-determination and against the imminent prospect of widespread violence.
As detailed in the report, the arbitrary and discriminatory administration of justice in pursuit of an anti-democratic agenda is at the center of Thailand’s political instability.
The continuing breakdown in the rule of law can be directly attributed to the abolishment of the democratic “People’s Constitution” of 1997 and its replacement with the “Coup Constitution” of 2007, which perpetuates restrictions to democratic rule by giving the judiciary and the bureaucracy the power to alter the results of freely conducted elections and to interfere in the activities of the legislative and executive branches.
The likely removal of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra at the hands of the upper house, the courts, or the military, based on either the misapplication or nonobservance of the law, is almost sure to be followed by violence on a scale never before seen. This places the civilian population in Bangkok and in provinces where the government is strongly supported at an extreme risk of murder, arbitrary imprisonment, and torture, for which the PDRC already has a long track record.
In the long run, hopes for a durable peace in Thailand rest on the abolishment of the 2007 “Coup Constitution” and either the reinstatement of the 1997 “People’s Constitution” or the introduction of a new Constitution consistent with basic procedural and substantive requirements of democracy.
In the short run, however, the international community must act to defend Thailand’s beleaguered democracy based on its Responsibility to Protect. Further, if an individual state is failing in its duty, the concept of Responsibility to Protect calls upon the international community to take collective action within the framework of the UN Charter.
Protecting innocent civilians from brutal slaughter is no simple task in Thailand, as doing so requires breaking a cycle of lawless coups and killings that dates back decades. Now that the same groups responsible for this cycle of impunity are using every conceivable method to remove a duly elected government and destroy democracy, the international community must act to defend the lives and freedoms of the Thai civilian population from imminent danger. It should do so by coming to the aid and support of the Yingluck government, as it stands up to a coalition that has acted illegally and with such impunity for so long that it is simply blind to any semblance of the rule of law.