Tag Archives: Constitutional Court

Thai junta can’t even tolerate existence of opposition parties

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

Not content with staying in power after phoney elections, the Thai junta’s parliamentary dictatorship cannot even tolerate the existence of the Future Forward Party. The Kangaroo Courts have just dissolved the main opposition party using some pathetic pretence about the party borrowing money.


The fine details of the case are irrelevant because this was a blatant political move to destroy the Future Forward Party and its leading politicians. It follows the removal of Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit as a member of parliament just after the election. The courts also have a long history of using double standards. Naturally the military party has never faced any sanctions despite continually flouting the law.

Let us be clear: Generalissimo Prayut’s authoritarian government came to power following a coup d’état in 2014. It is still in power in the form of a “parliamentary dictatorship” following a phoney election where the junta drew up all the rules to ensure that it stayed in power. This included appointing the Electoral Commission, the Senate and the Constitutional Courts. Prayut remains Prime Minister despite the fact that opposition parties won more votes and more seats in parliament. The military is still intervening at all levels of society in a dictatorial fashion and draconian laws are still being used to try to prevent peaceful protests and freedom of expression.


Parliament, the legal system and the courts are being used to white-wash Prayut’s junta. Therefore Prayut’s appeal for people to “respect” the decision of the courts is tantamount to asking people to eat excrement.

The Future Forward Party has gone out of its way to conform to the rules set by the dictatorship and has emphasised using the law and parliamentary procedures. Yet even this is too much for Prayut’s government.

Despite the fact that many of us opposed the tactics of the Future Forward Party in conforming to the junta’s rules, the fact that they did this, and they have still faced the chopping block, just shows that there is no realistic alternative to building a mass pro-democracy movement outside parliament in order to bring down the dictatorship. Such a movement would have cast-iron legitimacy.


In December Thanathorn and other Future Forward Party leaders called a successful protest when the party first faced the prospect of being dissolved. Today, after the latest slap in the face by the junta’s obedient courts, party leaders must seize the opportunity to fight back while there is a mood of anger against the junta in society. If they do not move forward to build a mass social movement, they will be showing criminal negligence in the struggle for democracy. A failure to react robustly in the face of the junta’s latest attack risks causing demoralisation and defeat.

Whatever the top leaders of the Future Forward Party decide to do, grass-roots activists, both inside and outside the party, should be trying to build a powerful network of people who are prepared to struggle for democracy on the streets, in the universities and colleges and among trade union activists. Not only would such a network strengthen any calls for action coming from the top, but it would also help to ensure that any struggle, if it takes place, is not sold out by top politicians engaging in a grubby compromise with the military. Such a compromise resulted in the defeat and destruction of the Red Shirt movement a few years ago.


Deadlock favours continued dictatorship

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

No one with any democratic principles or half a brain believed that Prayut’s military coup in 2014, or the previous judicial and military coups since 2006, would somehow “solve” Thailand’s political crisis. They were all reactionary measures taken in order to decrease the democratic space and to prevent the return to power of Taksin-sponsored political parties through free and fair elections. But even in their own terms, the conservatives who backed this destruction of democracy, have failed to impose a settlement which serves their interests.

The latest deadlock is over the junta’s new draft constitution, written by veteran anti-democrat Meechai Ruchupan. A whole host of pro-democracy organisations and social movements have condemned this undemocratic charter. It is even too much for various middle-class individuals and parties which backed past military coups. If put to a free and fair referendum it would be rejected. This is why the junta has prohibited any public campaigning against this terrible document. The “Electoral Commission” has threatened that any critics of this dictator’s charter face 10 years in prison and a life time ban on voting rights. Soldiers are being sent into communities in order to “explain” to people the “good points” of the charter. People are still being summonsed to “attitude changing sessions” in military camps. Meechai has threatened that if his draft charter is not accepted the next version will be “even more oppressive”. Imagine!! This is from the mouth of someone who claims to be leading “political reform”!!


But imposition of this charter against the wishes of the population will cause further resentment and anger against the junta.

It is worth remembering that the military and the corrupt kangaroo courts have overthrown democratically elected governments 4 times in the last ten years. They have written 4 so-called “constitutions” or draft constitutions. They have shot down over a hundred unarmed pro-democracy demonstrators in cold blood. They have detained more and more pro-democracy activists and fitted up many on lèse majesté charges. They have allowed violent right-wing thugs to roam the streets with impunity, providing assistance to those wishing to overthrow elected governments and also wrecking the 2014 elections. Yet the conservatives have failed miserably in their attempts to change the democratic attitude of the majority of the population.

Added to this are the various scandals. Military corruption is rife and attempts to expose it have been met with repression. The latest scandal is the reversal by the Appeal Court of the reason for dissolving Taksin’s Thai Rak Thai party (TRT) back in 2007. This was originally decided by the Constitutional Court as a way of justifying the military coup which took place a few months earlier. The latest decision by the appeal court overturns this decision due to lack of evidence of any wrong-doing by TRT. It also throws into question the banning from politics of the executive members of the party. It also throws into question the processes used to overthrow the Somchai Wongsawat and Samak Suntarawet governments in order to allow the military to appoint Abhisit Vejjajiva as an unelected Prime Minister in 2008. But nothing significant will happen as a result of all this because many years have passed.

The conservatives cannot come to terms with their failure to win over the majority of the population. All they know is how to use repression and violence to have their way. But violence and repression will not endear them to most citizens. So the deadlock continues and this deadlock is the only excuse that the junta have for staying in power.

The latest reactionary proposal from the junta is to have a two stage constitution. The first elections would elect some MPs to sit alongside junta appointed ones and the junta would remain in power. This, according to the anti-reformists would be a “good balance between democracy and stability”. After that, maybe, democratic elections could be held if conditions allow, but no doubt a supervisory role for the junta and its appointees would remain. If this proposal is put into practice it would prolong the life of the junta by at least another 5 years if not longer. In response to this ex-Prime Minister Chawalit Yongjaiyut exclaimed that another 5 months of the junta would be intolerable.

Right now neither the pro-democracy side, nor the reactionary conservatives are strong enough to break this deadlock and win. For the pro-democracy side, this is because of a failure to build an effective mass movement, something which I have often highlighted in the past. But a situation of political deadlock cannot last forever.

Why the Constitutional Court was plain WRONG about Yingluk

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The Constitutional Court overthrew Prime Minister Yingluk for political reasons. There was nothing just or legal about it. I write this as a Red Shirt socialist who does not and has never supported Taksin.

1. Tawin Bliansee was appointed to the national security post after an illegal coup in 2006. This abuse of power was not considered by the court

2. Tawin Bliansee was responsible for drawing up the bogus “anti-monarchy” conspiracy map which helped to justify the shooting of nearly 90 unarmed red shirts. This alone would be legitimate grounds for sacking him and starting prosecutions against him for conspiracy to murder or at the very least conspiracy to libel. The court did not consider this.

3. Ajarn Worachet Pakeerat, from the Nitirat group of progressive law academics, explained that the case brought before the Constitutional Court was about moving Tawin. Yet their ruling was almost exclusive based on Yingluk appointing Priawpun Damapong to replace him, which was a separate issue and was not brought to the court as a case. Worachet considers the court’s decision to be illegitimate. I would say that it is a corrupt abuse of power by the courts.

4. Priawpun Damapong, the brother of Taksin’s ex-wife, was side-lined by the illegal coup makers in 2006 and deliberately ignored for the job of police chief by the illegally appointed Abhisit government which came to power in 2008. Despite his legitimate seniority, a policeman more his junior was appointed instead. So Yingluk was appointing him to redress the injustice that he had received. This was not considered by the court.

5. There is no evidence that either Yingluk or Priawpun made any corrupt gains as a result.

6. The Thai elites are all linked together in a web of friends and relatives. A good example of this is that Korn Chatikavanij is related by marriage to Abhisit Vejjajiva. The important issue to consider is that since 2006 there has been a long history of unelected public officials who have disobeyed or even conspired to overthrow the elected government. Tawin himself appeared on Sutep’s anti-democratic stage before the court ruling and while he was still a government official. One way of trying to overcoming this problem is for the elected government to appoint officials who they know they can trust. This is not corruption or abuse of power.

Enough is enough

Numnual  Yapparat

I was bitterly angry when I heard the appalling verdict from the constitutional court (see previous article on this blog: “Judicial Coup”).Judges successfully drove out the elected Prime Minister. A few hours later, they announced that their office will be closed and will open again on 14th of May. They are sly old devils. They can always get away with their unforgiveable wrong doings.

Next, the national auditor’s office asked the ex-Prime Minister Yingluk to take responsibility for the failed February election by refunding the cost of the election. “Insane” seems to be the only word that can be used here.

Now, the latest insult is that Yingluk is facing a “criminal charge” over the rice price guarantee scheme. The counter-corruption agency has passed the case to the half appointed senate. If found guilty, she would be banned from politics for five years. The rice price guarantee scheme was undoubtedly beneficial to rice farmers. It was always opposed by the neo-liberal conservatives. Any corruption by rice merchants was not corruption which benefitted Yingluk or government ministers. The counter-corruption agency even admits this.

So we see Sutep’s thugs and the anti-democrat party wrecking the February elections while the military sits on its hands. Then the constitutional court overthrows the government, much to the glee of Sutep and his gang. The national audit office slaps on more pressure and the counter-corruption agency kicks the ball into the goal with a 5 year ban on political activity.

Now the anti-democrat team will be seeking to get rid of the remaining care-taker ministers and pave the way for an appointed Prime Minister to oversee the gerrymandering of the next election.

Pua Thai has no corner to turn to. The old order also cannot find any fig leaf to hide their evil intentions.

What is next? The old establishment is a minority group in this country. Not all middle class people support the yellow shirts. Why do we need to obey the military constitution? Rules can be changed because it happened in the past and therefore it can happen again. The political crisis will not be solved easily. Today every part of the old establishment does not have any politically legitimacy left. But they can survive if a nasty compromise restores their power and whitewashes them of their criminal records. These people will not accept democratic rule unless they are forced to do so. Seriously, it means we need a radical change from below, from the mass movement. The movement needs to be independent from Pua Thai. Otherwise we are unlikely to get out from this vicious circle.

I am angry with Pua Thai because they have refused to put things right. They stayed in power for nearly 3 years but did nothing to improve or increase the democratic space. They have always sought ways to restore the old order’s stability. I am fed up with some red shirts who refuse to use their brains and are being dragged by Pua Thai towards a way that wrecks the basic democratic principles.

The United front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) has called for a demonstration on 10th of May. This call will bring huge crowds undoubtedly; though lots of red shirts hesitate to take part because they do not trust that Pua Thai will protect them. If the rally turns violent then how will they end up? Lots of political prisoners are still in jails. We need to learn the lesson from the past.  We have to refuse to be only a piece of tissue to be used and to be thrown away. We need to join the demonstrations but have our own demands. We should not pin our hope on Pua Thai and the UDD, but we need to communicate with ordinary red shirts who really want to make a change, by inviting them to consider better options. We have to ask them to lead themselves, not to be led by Pua Thai.

Sutep calls his supporters to be on streets again this Friday. He wants to confront the red shirt rally. The red shirts need to be very careful about security issues but we cannot compromise any more. Enough is enough, if we do nothing it will encourage the old order to abuse us further.


Judicial Coup – a blow to democracy

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The unelected, antidemocratic and illegitimate Constitutional Court has staged a coup d’état, overthrowing Prime Minister Yingluk on a mere technicality. They claim that the elected Prime Minister did not have the right to move a government official.

It is a mere technicality because she is accused of “abusing her power” to appoint an in-law to the vacant position. While Yingluk has been accused of this ridiculous “wrong-doing”, the military coup makers and the Democrat Party politicians who killed scores of pro-democracy demonstrators enjoy impunity.

The actions of this court would be laughable if they were not so serious. The court has previously ruled against the right of an elected parliament to amend the military constitution so that all senators would be elected. It also ruled that the government cannot build a much needed high speed rail link. In that case the old fogies stated that “it would be better to build roads”. Apparently they have illusions that they experts in all matters and have the right to run the country instead of the government.

This coup d’état is basically in support of the anti-democrat mobs, led by Sutep Tuaksuban, who have brought chaos and violence to the streets of Bangkok. These mobs have also enjoyed impunity. It is merely the latest in a long line of military or judicial coups since September 2006 which have sought to reduce the democratic space and disenfranchise the majority of the population. Each time they have overthrown an elected government, subsequent elections have shown that the majority of the population continue to support such a government.

The Constitutional Court is part of the conservative elite alliance. This alliance is made up of the military, the top bureaucrats, the courts, the anti-Democrat Party, the middle classes and the NGOs. These are the guilty people who have promoted the destruction of democracy.

Since the end of last year violent right-wing anti-democratic mobs have openly used violence, including the use of fire arms, to wreck the February elections. At the same time middle-class academics and NGO leaders have joined a disgusting chorus of hypocritical calls for an appointed Prime Minister and measures to restrict the democratic franchise in the name of “peace”.

Make no mistake, this is gigantic conflict between those who believe in the democratic process and modernity and those who believe in turning the clock back to the dark days when the majority of the population were ignored and insulted. It is not merely an elite struggle. It is not about succession to the throne and it is not primarily about the Shinawat family. Those who make such claims dismiss the political awakening and political participation by millions of redshirts and their supporters.

Yingluk’s Pua Thai Party cannot be trusted to lead a fight for democracy against these continuing threats. Any defence of democracy must come from the red shirt movement. But what is needed is new leadership which is independent of Pua Thai and more closely allied to the organised working class.

The power of the people is real but the Constitutional Court is disposable

Numnual  Yapparat

There is no magical smoke and mirrors that will be able to disguise the real nature of the Constitutional Court (CC) and the old order alliance. The CC is a recently invented institution. It has a long record of violating democracy principles. We did not have it in the past and in a better future we will not have it.

The constitution is less important than the will of the people. If the constitution has been written to benefit the few and it is against the interests of the majority, then we should tear down the constitution. We have to draw up a new draft that suits our goal; the goal of regarding all citizens as equal. The best way to guarantee fairness in society is the participation of the people. We need to smash the myths about “the experts know best”. No they do not. If we look at the CC we know they are the liars and reactionaries who want to destroy democracy. Ordinary people can understand complicated issues if they have a chance to do so. This is not medicine or engineering where we need expert explanations for diseases, epidemics or mechanical failures.

The CC shamelessly nullified the 2nd of February Election. This action is helping to precipitate a new level of the crisis. There were positive reactions from pro-democrats who expressed their anger against the CC. Pro-democratic academics openly released their statements to declare that the CC judgement was illegitimate. I was deadly scared that Pua Thai might kowtow to the CC but fortunately they also issued their statement to condemn the CC.

Ajarn Worajet Pakeerat, from the Nitirat group, fiercely criticised the CC and explained that their judgements have been carried out without any base in law. Worajet said that the CC’s ruling was also destroying the options that the law can provide to break the political deadlock.

Worajet went on to say that “we can only talk about law if we use reason, but the CC are people who do not use reason”. Can we abolish the CC? To answer the question, Worajet said that “under the current constitution, no, because the various independent bodies have the power to make that decision”. He suggested that only political struggle can save us. We needed to maximise the number pro-democracy activists and expand democratic values.

Surely if the old order wants to move forward towards the destruction of the democratic process, they will not be able to rule smoothly. When the anti-Democrats Party were the government, they could not govern at all. Everywhere the anti-Democrats like Abhisit went, they would be confronted by the red shirts. The red shirts also protested against and chased traitor politicians who helped the anti-Democrats form the military backed government in 2008.

The main issue at the moment is how we can prevent Pua Thai from compromising with the old order. One way of doing so is that the progressive rank and file must draw up their own demands such as the release of political prisoners immediately. Another useful demand would be to scrap the Lèse-majesté law and charge state murderers who killed innocent red shirts. We need to have our constitution which states clearly that all politicians and all those who hold public positions need to be elected. At this stage we need to brainstorm and sketch the new society that we want. We can discuss what sort of morals should be the core principles in our new society. We need the kind of morals that enhance human dignity and freedom. We do not need religious morals that legitimise the elite’s oppression of citizens. We need to start thinking now. Otherwise the experts in hypocrisy and politicians who lack any back-bone will draw up their own reactionary road maps.

Kangaroo-Constitutional Court helps wreck 2nd Feb elections

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The notorious Constitutional Court has once again worked hand in glove with the anti-democrats, ruling that the 2nd February 2014 election was “unconstitutional”. This is a re-run of the ruling that the election on 2nd April 2006 was null and void. The 2006 ruling, along with anti-democrat protests, led to a military coup and the continuous destruction of Thai democracy. Previous court rulings abolished Taksin’s Thai Rak Thai Party and brought down the elected Palang Prachachon Party government in 2008. Recently the court also ruled that the government could not proceed with plans for a high speed rail link.

The excuse for wrecking the 2nd February elections was that many constituencies had no candidates and were unable to hold elections. But there was no recognition of the illegal acts of Sutep’s mob in using violence to prevent voting and the unconstitutional boycott of the elections by the un-Democrat Party because it knew it would lose. Nothing was mentioned about the fact that the military, known for its repeated unconstitutional coups, stood by and did nothing to ensure security during the election.

In demanding a new election, the court stated that it did not care that Sutep’s mob had promised to disrupt any future elections.

The elite appointed courts and non-“independent” bodies have been working hand in glove with Sutep’s mob. They along with the middle classes, hate the democratic process which gives the majority of the population some say in politics. They view most ordinary Thais with contempt.

The anti-democrats now hope that throwing the ball back to the biased Election Commission and the government will allow more time to push out Yingluk and start a process of changing the election rules to reduce the democratic space. Many academics and NGO leaders in the anti-democrat camp are hoping for a compromise and make dark predictions about “civil war”. But such a compromise would give the same weight to a minority of anti-democrats as to the majority of citizens who want democracy. A compromise between democracy and dictatorship can only lead to “half democracy”.

The only way to defend the democratic space is a total mobilisation of the red shirts and other progressive forces. But unfortunately the UDD leadership cannot be relied upon to do this.

Constitutional Court: needs to be abolished

Numnual  Yapparat

It is another dark day for Thailand. The Constitutional Court (CC) ruled that the government high speed train policy is supposedly “unconstitutional”. After the press release from the court, a huge number of people expressed their anger at this Kangaroo court by posting pictures of shit on the court’s Facebook page.

Under the current circumstances, the unelected CC behaves like a dictatorship. Next the CC may wish to declare that the result of the recent election is null and void. If things develop in this way, sooner or later they will get what they want: the overthrow of the elected government.

The high speed train project would benefit millions of people. It would provide fast and safe public transport. At present the roads are a death trap for the poor, especially on public holidays. It would also help reduce carbon emissions from air travel. The CC claimed that such a project would “destroy fiscal discipline”. They and the anti-Democrats are all extreme neo-liberals. They hate government spending on useful projects for citizens, but support lavish spending on elite ceremonies and the military.

Why do we have to allow 9 idiot judges to turn the clock back on the country’s development? The CC has been working overtime to destroy democracy. I do believe that we need a serious campaign to abolish the Constitutional Court. We need to raise awareness among the public that the main national policies should be debated by citizens and decided through the democratic process instead of letting unelected conservatives make the decisions. In doing so, we need to mobilise the pro-democracy mass movement to fight back. Otherwise we will slip back into the dark days when the military ruled Thailand. Yingluk and the Pua Thai Party are failing to provide the necessary leadership and the UDD have become mere supporters of the government. We desperately need grass roots progressive leadership.

When we talk about democracy we need to go beyond elections and talk more about what changes to society that we want. We need to talk about what kind of economy policies that we would like to support and how to spend public money in the interests of the majority. We need to talk about how to reform the public institutions. We need to talk about how to systematically reduce the power of the old order.

The 2nd February election in Thailand has solved nothing

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

 The 2nd February election cannot solve the Thai political crisis because those lined up against the government and the holding of democratic elections, are fundamentally opposed to democracy.

The election was marred by violence from Democrat Party thugs who were determined to prevent the election taking place. Armed thugs fired automatic weapons into crowds of people who were expressing their wish to vote. These thugs have been enjoying total impunity for over a month while intimidating voters and candidates.

Democrat Party leaders such as Sutep, Satit and Abhisit want the electoral process to be changed so that the middle class and the elites can have an absolute veto over the views of the majority of the electorate. Democracy doesn’t work for them because they only have support from less than 30% of the population. They are supported in their thuggery by the Constitutional Court, the top civil service, the mainstream media, sections of the Electoral Commission and the NGOs. The military is happy to stand by and watch Yingluk and Pua Thai’s discomfort. They may not want to stage a coup right now, but they will not lift a finger to defend democracy and the election. They want Yingluk to make more concessions to those who are opposed to democracy.

Despite the violence and intimidation, voting took place in most provinces and 20.4 million people cast their votes. This compares to 35 million in 2011. Given that the Democrat Party has in the past won no more than 14 million votes, and that in this election they called for a boycott, the turn-out was not too bad. It can be assumed that more than 20 million people wish to preserve democracy and many of those support Pua Thai.

No amount of compromise or negotiations with the anti-democratic thugs will solve the crisis. The only short-term result would be shrinkage of the democratic space and the further empowerment of those who view the majority of the electorate with contempt.

No amount of outrage at the violence and impunity of the thugs will push Yingluk or Pua Thai or the authorities into a crackdown on those committing criminal acts. As I mentioned in a previous article on “permanent Revolution” in Thailand, Yingluk would rather do a dirty deal with Sutep than to mobilise the Red Shirts and the general population to fight for democracy.

This means that pro-democracy activists, whether they be progressive Red Shirts, pro-democracy trade unionists, White Shirts, Nitirat supporters, socialists, or members of the Forum for the Defence of Democracy, all have to work together to prevent the destruction of the democratic space. They should also push forward with real reform proposals which will increase rights and the empowerment of the majority. The future of Thai democracy lies in their hands.

Democrat’s mad dogs unleash violence around Bangkok’s voting stations

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

On Sunday 26th January, The Democrat Party’s mad dogs unleashed violence around Bangkok’s voting stations. Voting stations throughout the country were supposed to be open for people to cast their votes in advance. Advanced voting is a required service since it is compulsory for people to cast their ballot.

In many areas of Bangkok, many angry residents argued with the anti-democratic protesters. They also protested against local election commissioners who closed voting stations whether or not they were surrounded by Sutep’s Democrat Party thugs. At some stations the thugs physically attacked citizens who wanted to vote. What happened on the day shows that significant sections of the Bangkok population are opposed to the Democrat Party’s attempts to wreck the election. This will only come as a surprise to those commentators who claim that the Thai crisis is a “rural vs Bangkok” dispute. At the last election almost half of the Bangkok electorate voted for Pua Thai.

Despite the roving gangs of thugs in Bangkok, 597 constituencies nationwide, or 91% of constituencies, managed to hold advanced voting. In the Muslim Malay south, village officials stood in line around voting stations to stop the Democrats intimidating voters. The head of the Department of Special Investigation is also looking to prosecute election commissioners who failed to do their duty to ensure that the elections took place where there were no anti-government protests.

The antics of the Election Commission, the Democrat Party thugs and the Constitutional Court are like a game of football. Sutep’s thugs want the government to resign and the elections to be scrapped. They want the constitution to be changed so that democracy is abolished. The thugs cause disturbances to try to wreck candidate registration, the Election Commission takes the “ball” and uses this as an excuse to call for the election to be postponed. They then pass the “ball” to the Constitutional Court to rule that the election can in fact be postponed. The “ball” now passes back to the thugs who cause more violence outside voting stations. The Election Commission jumps at the chance to point to this violence as an excuse to close polling stations and call on the government to call off the election. All the while these agents of dictatorship are cheered on by the university vice chancellors, sexist doctors, NGOs, the mainstream press and the mis-named National Human Rights Commission.

The academics, NGOs, backward middle-classes and other despicable creatures of the elites, bear a great responsibility for the growing destruction of democracy in Thailand. During the last months of Taksin’s TRT government, they insulted the majority of the electorate by claiming that they were “too ignorant” to have the right to vote. Before that they belittled pro-poor policies, such as universal health care, as being “mere vote-buying”. They are the ones who called for the army to stage a coup d’état against the elected TRT government in 2006. They then cooperated with the military junta. They are the ones who supported the blocking of the international airports in 2008 in order to urge the judiciary to stage another coup against the elected PPP government. It is they who gave tacit support to the killing of 90 Red Shirt protesters by the military in 2010. Today, they make hypocritical calls for “both sides to refrain from violence” and to “meet each other half way”. This is the same as saying that Sutep’s mob who want to destroy democracy, have the same legitimacy as the elected government which is supported by 70% of the population.

If this ragbag of middle class detritus cared one iota about creating peace and democracy in Thailand, they would join with those who have been lighting candles and urging Sutep to take his mob home. Instead, every time they open their mouths, they give confidence to the thugs.

I and my comrades have been discussing 5 urgent reforms that need to take place in order to increase the democratic space in Thailand.

You can read the details here: https://uglytruththailand.wordpress.com/ or here: http://bit.ly/1cLbFtr

In summary they are:

1. The need to address gross economic inequality by introducing a wealth tax and a welfare state.

2. The need to abolish Lèse Majesté, the Computer Crimes law and the Contempt of Court law which protects judges from criticism. Prisoners of conscience like Somyot Prueksakasemsuk should be released from prison. The entire judicial system should be overhauled.

3. The elite-appointed “independent bodies”, which are only independent from any democratic process, and which mis-use their power by over-ruling parliament, must be abolished. The worst offenders are the Election Commission, the Constitutional Court and the appointed half of the Senate. The whole despicable idea behind such bodies is that the general population cannot be trusted to elect the “right” people to parliament. If parliament and the government need accountability and transparency, it should be done through democratic processes.

4. The need to reduce the power and influence of the military in politics and society.

5. The need to punish those who commit gross violations of human rights, including military generals, Abhisit, Sutep and Taksin. This is in order that real standards of human rights can be established. The pro-elite National Human Rights Commission needs to be abolished.

We in no way claim a monopoly on ideas for political reform. Other groups, such as the Nitirat group of progressive law academics, have many interesting proposals. There are also many other long term reforms that are needed.

But it is safe to say that if anyone talks about political reform without mentioning our five main points above, they are merely rebranding “reaction” and “dictatorship”.

Photo credit: ( Pornchai Kittiwongsakul / AFP from http://alj.am/1eWY8iH)