Connecting the Dots has been silent on Thai politics for some time. The reason for this is since the 2014 Coup, what has been going on in Thailand politically has been 100% a Thai thing. So we were very content to make it a spectator event as there was things to be learned from it. But now that the Thai people have had had their first say about things in over two years, we thought it would be a good time to see what they said.
On August 7, 2016, there was a nationwide vote to accept or reject the newly drafted Constitution. As before with the 2007 Constitution that had some teeth, the 2016 Constitution was accepted widely. The military government went to great lengths to insure the vote was fair and not tainted by self-serving politicians. For the most part they were successful with the exception of a few small pockets where distorted information was distributed by self-serving people. The people behind that are now facing some significant jail time.
So we thought it best to make this a bullet point Q&A type of post as the only group of people who were against it were politicians for a variety of reasons. As it turns out, the Rank and File Thais did not support the views of politicians and the Constitution was accepted by about 61% of the people.
Q: Is this a truly 100% Democratic Constitution?
A: No but with good reasons. We have established from our observations that for a true democracy to exist, there needs to be adequate education of the people so they can make both informed and educated decisions without be lead astray by self-serving politicians. That threshold appears to be just about 1 year short of graduating High school or about 11th grade. Thailand’s average education is below that point.
Q: How does the 2016 Constitution address that educational shortcoming to bring balance?
A: The 2016 Constitution is loaded with plenty to keep bad boy politicians in check. We often described the 2007 Constitution as having teeth. The 2016 Constitution more closely resembles a carbide tipped industrial shredder that you would feed junk cars into. The death penalty can apply for corrupt politicians if the cost exceeds a certain amount. Prior to this, very few politicians saw jail time and managed to drag it out in court for a decade or longer. There will be no more of that and fast tracking will see the case come to an end in a year or less once submitted to the court.
Q: What one thing that can be said about the 2016 Constitution that sums it up?
A: Common sense and needed controls to deal with corruption.
Q: Are there any downsides to the new Constitution?
A: That unfortunately cannot be answered until it is up and running as at this point it would just be speculation.
Q: Who would the 2016 Constitution benefit the most?
A: Thai people who are victims of corruption and lack resources to effectively deal with corruption.
Q: What were the reasons politicians rejected the constitution?
A: They ranged from not thinking it was democratic, to just not liking it because it was already showing those hungry carbide tips. In all cases politicians portrayed it that the Thai people would be victims in order not to make their rejection of the Constitution look like it was self-serving.
So all in all this 2016 Constitution can be seen as a stepping stone to a more fully democratic Constitution that can be implemented once the level of education in Thailand is high enough to be able to handle democracy by knowing when they are being deceived by politicians.