Thailand’s military junta releases list of appointments to unelected senate

Thailand’s military junta releases list of appointments to unelected senate

Thailand’s military junta is today expected to announce its list of 250 senators who will comprise the legislature’s upper house.

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Photo: Reuters

Thailand’s military junta is today expected to announce its list of 250 senators who will comprise the legislature’s upper house.

Under Thailand’s 2017 constitution, the senate is “a non-partisan legislative chamber” composed of 250 members, all of whom are appointed by the military. Lower house elections held on March 24 saw the opposition Pheu Thai secure a plurality, and another opposition party, Future Forward, pick up unexpected gains. The pro-military Palang Pracharath party cannot govern alone, but with its gains it is still expected to form a coalition government with several smaller parties.

Indeed, even in the unlikely event that anti-military parties do form a government, the 2017 constitution ensures that the military will retain effective control of Thailand. This is because the military-controlled Senate can stage a no-confidence vote against any government, eliminating the opposition’s power.

Under these constitutional rules, the political stability of Thailand’s quasi-democracy will depend on the military retaining control of the House. If the military were to lose control of the House, it could, at its discretion, topple any democratically elected opposition party or coalition government. However, exercising this power would delegitimize Thailand’s electoral process and could result in potentially violent political turmoil.

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