The Thai parliament will meet today to discuss motions for constitutional amendments following a series of anti-government protests.
One constitutional change of interest is the Senate’s participation in prime ministerial elections. This amendment was proposed in response to the protester’s demands to end the military’s control over the government. Thailand’s Senate was originally abolished by the military following the 2014 coup. The Senate was later re-established with the adoption of the 2017 Constitution, yet all members were appointed by the junta. This arrangement gave the military heavy influence over parliamentary procedures. As such, members of parliament will discuss the possibility of stripping the Senate of its power to vote for the prime minister in today’s meeting.
Successfully moving forward with this amendment would lead to a diminution of the military’s influence in the parliament and signal to protesters that the junta is willing to divest some of its control over the political process. However, the military’s influence would not completely dissipate since the motion is not seeking to dissolve the Senate. At present, it is unlikely that the motion to limit the Senate’s electoral power will yield progress. As a result, expect protesters to use this outcome as further evidence of the military’s unwillingness to give up its control at future protests.
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Trey is the Chief Editor of Foreign Brief's Analysis division. He specializes in Southeast Asia’s political, economic, and security environments, particularly as they relate to US and Chinese foreign policy strategies.