In perhaps what could be best described as the brilliance of the drafters of Thailand’s Constitution, The Constitution itself has defended itself from the anticipated moves of Thaksin Shinawatra. As Thaksin is a creature of habit, knowing he would try to shift the balance of power in his favor was long anticipated. Changing a Democracy into a Dictatorship was his goal in 2006, as it still is now.
No need to applaud the judges of the Constitutional Court for stopping Thaksin in his tracks, but they simply did their job. They are the keepers of the Constitution, and the final line of defense in their interpretation of it. The genius of the 2007 Thai Constitution is it is a document designed to avoid the need for future Coups. Had Thaksin succeeded in shifting the power in his favor by rearranging the makeup of the Senate, sooner or later another Coup would be launched to stop him just as it was in 2006.
Thaksin’s arrogance was apparent from the start, and topped off with the provision that several members of the same family could serve in the Senate at the same time. That is just the general dictionary description of cronyism.
The entire reason for the appointed Senators is to keep power from being consolidated. With large scale vote buying still going on, the appointed Senator provision looks to place that in check.
But knowing Thaksin he will not give up. At the time of the penning of this post, there were signs that the Red Shirts would start a signature gathering drive to remove the Constitutional Court judges for standing in Thaksin’s way. Also the Phu Thai Party (PTP) Government had not yet decided on how to proceed in lieu of the court’s ruling. Much of that depends on the anger level of Thaksin.
With boasts the court did not have authority and their ruling would be ignored, they now find themselves in a dead end. The King needs to sign off on the changes to the Constitution as a final step before it becomes law, and with the court ruling as they have, there is little if any chance that will happen.
This leaves Thailand at a moment of pause as Thaksin decides on his next attack. Logically he will look to remove what stands in his way and that list now includes the Constitutional Court judges as well as the Constitution. The possibility of intimidation is very high and for the most part can be expected. However that runs the risk of being in contempt of court and a healthy chunk of jail time. But per usual Thaksin will get others to sacrifice themselves to do that.
So in short for the moment Thaksin has been placed in check, and that is a good thing for the moment. The bad is he will come back with greater intensity and perhaps start to engage in various forms of physical persuasion. After all you would not expect any less from a want to be dictator.