Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday said that a prospective petition to revoke the junta’s announcements and orders had to be “rational”.
“They have called for the revocation of some announcements and laws that might be in favour of any particular side,” Prayut said at his weekly press briefing.
“We have to see who is advantaged and disadvantaged by each of the laws,” he added.
The PM was speaking a day after civil-society groups launched a campaign to collect at least 10,000 signatures to file a petition for a bill to revoke 35 of the National Council for Peace and Order’s (NCPO) laws, some of which were issued by the absolute Article 44 power granted to the head of the NCPO, which is Prayut.
The groups, led by the Internet Law Reform Dialogue (iLaw), said they aimed to submit the petition to the post-election Lower House as they “have no faith” in the junta-appointed parliamentary system.
The civil-society groups’ move came shortly after the junta government said recently that laws enacted under the NCPO’s special sweeping power would eventually come to an end once the NCPO was defunct after the general election.
Prayut earlier promised that a national poll would be held in November this year, but political parties are still frozen by NCPO order 3/2015 that prohibits a political gathering of five or more people.
Last month’s NCPO order 53/2017, which amends the Political Party Act, is also much opposed by parties for its requirements deemed to require the resetting of their memberships, which they argue would cut their registered supporter base.
Yingcheep Atchanont, iLaw project manager, said on Tuesday that he had little hope that the NCPO would revoke its laws while it was still in power.
“They always cite so-called irregular situations when exercising such absolute power,” he said. “They would like to convey the need to get such situations under control.”
Yingcheep added that NCPO order 3/2015, along with 13/2016 – which grants policing power to military officers to perform the arbitrary detention of civilians – presented the greatest concern to civil-society groups.
“‘Political gathering’ has a broad range of meanings. By prohibiting it so, it also put fear into the civil-society movement,” he explained. “This threatens us when we wish to voice [concerns] to the authorities.”