respect my vote 3

Let’s Talk about Political Reform(3): Independent bodies the ugly myths!

Numnual  Yapparat

(Please see the new updated at the end of this article)

Lots of problems are getting out of hand at the moment because we let those so-called “independent bodies” exercise too much power. The worst examples of Thai independent bodies are the constitutional court, the election commission and the half of the senate which is appointed by the elites. Every time when I hear people calling for an “independent body” to sort out the current crisis I feel sick to the bottom of my stomach.

People who are operating such organisations have never been elected to their posts. They are all appointed by the military or the elites. Therefore, the entire concept of having so-called “independent bodies” is to restrict the democratic process. Put simply, those who support the idea of these bodies do not respect the electorate and do not respect democracy. These so-called “independent bodies” are never accountable to the public.

Independent bodies should be abolished. If we need “checks and balances” this should be done by elected representatives who are chosen in a different way to parliament. Elected judges and regional representatives are one choice. The use of referendums should be expanded.

In reality, the independent bodies are not independent at all. They sit at the heart of elite and corporate interests.

“The constitutional court” over-stepped its power by vetoing the economic policy of an elected government and an elected parliament. They claimed that a proposed high speed rail link was unconstitutional. Thailand desperately needs infrastructure investment. They also ruled that it was “unconstitutional” for parliament to propose an amendment to the constitution to make sure that all senators would be elected. Now they are trying to help their friends in the election commission to cheat the electoral process by postponing the election day. Of course they support Sutep’s mob.

“The election commission” is trying to postpone the election by mounting pressure on government.  In the past, it declared the 2006 election to be null and void because the ballot boxes were “the wrong way round”. This was a convenient excuse to legitimise the military coup. The duty of the election commission is to organise a clean and fair election. Yet they are now doing the opposite, bowing to the wishes of Sutep’s gangsters.

The extreme neo-liberal Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) constantly calls for unelected economists to curb government spending that is beneficial to the poor. There is never a peep out of them about the astronomical levels of military spending or spending on state ceremonies.

“The human rights commission” has proved itself again and again to be useless. It has never protected the Red Shirts even when they were gunned down in the streets of Bangkok by the military and the Democrats. It has never protected the human rights of political prisoners who are charged with Lèse Majesté. When Sutep’s mob come out and use violence on the streets, it urgently issued statements to demand that the government must not use violence against protesters. It seems that human rights are reserved only for those who are members of the elites; the democrats and their supporters. The human rights commission remained silent abot the coup in 2006. Now they are supporting Sutep’s mob.

For genuine political reform, we need to cut through the ugly myths about “independent bodies”.

Latest crimes of the Constitutional Court:

The court ruling of 24th January stated that it was OK to postpone the 2nd February election. The court is working in tandem with the Election Commission to wreck the election and make sure that when an election is eventually held, it will be fixed to reduce the voting value of the majority. These  are the same aims as the Sutep mob.