February 16, 2014 00:00
By Khanittha Thepphajorn
Academics are divided over whether the country should opt for an appointed PM to resolve the political deadlock that threatens to send the country into the downward spiral of recession, civil strife, plus social and political disintegration.
Thammasat University political scientist Prajak Kongkirati disapproved of an appointed PM on the ground of constitutionality, saying an appointed PM would not have legitimacy and credibility from the world community.
“The only way out is to follow democratic rules and for the protesters end their protest because not only do they jeopardise the economy but they also put their lives in danger,’’ he said.
Independent academic Verapat Pariyawong said the country had reached an impasse because People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) leader Suthep Thaugsuban had refused talks, the military’s unclear stance over the situation facing the country and not enough media coverage of debates between the rival camps.
He said to get the two opposing sides to compromise on the issue of the prime minister, the Election Commission should continue with the election until the country has a sufficient number of MPs to convene the House and then let MPs vote for a PM among themselves.
“The new PM does not have to come from the party with the most MP seats but anyone who is acceptable by all sides,’’ he said.
He disapproved of the proposal to take recourse to Article 3 and Article 7 of the Constitution to get an appointed PM, saying the charter leaves this channel only for an inevitable situation. It was against the spirit of the charter to intentionally create a political deadlock and power vacuum. “If you don’t want elected Cabinet, the only way is to tear up the charter,” he said.
Chulalongkorn University lecturer and constitutional expert Pornsan Liangbunlertchai said the present charter had no loophole for an appointed PM. He said the solution was to allow the public to decide who they want to run the country.
“If the (PDRC) argues that the country is under the process of a people’s revolution, the question is which ruling system do you want to change to? The people’s revolution in Thailand is not successful, unlike in foreign countries, because those countries want to change from dictatorship to democracy,’’ he said.
National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) former rector Sombat Thamrongthanyawong supported the PDRC’s push for use of Article 3 and 7 to pave the way for an appointed PM. “The charter writers put these articles in case a political vacuum takes place – otherwise they would not have written them,’’ he said.
Independent academic Komsan Phokong also supported the move to seek a royally appointed PM in accordance with Article 7. However, he suggested that the Senate decide who should be the PM as there is no House and House Speaker.
He said having the PDRC decide who will be the next PM would be extremely problematic because of its lack of legitimacy.