The NCPO's drive for reform via inclusive consultations across society is not the answer.
Democracy as a form of government has been around for centuries. Its principles are not a mystery and can be easily analysed and transcribed to form a Constitution.
Thailand is a democracy only in name. Democratic principles must be established for it to become a working democracy. This in itself will reform the country.
The Constitution is the paramount law embodying all the principles of democracy, but it does not require opinion from a cross-section of society, as the principles are already well established. They have been tried, tested and proven to provide political stability. To “accommodate differing views” will only mean more of the same.
Essentially, democracy is a form of government controlled by laws with an apolitical head of state (as opposed to a democratic republic with a political leader). Institutions such as the judiciary, the police force, the military and bureaucracy must be apolitical.
The unrest in Thailand is due to its failing in this regard. Here, the law is ignored when it suits, and institutions are partisan, deciding for themselves how they will act.
I suggest five steps for reform:
1. Establish a constitution embodying the principles of democracy, including the right to vote.
2. Remove from office all those in authority who are known to be partisan.
3. Overhaul the police force, which has not only not enforced the law but has seemingly even violated it.
4. Apply and enforce the law vigorously. This will cure corruption with stiff penalties.
5. Education must be comprehensive with a national curriculum for the long-term solution to a stable society.
Once a new Constitution has been written, elections could be held. Those who break the laws of democracy would be arrested by the police and face the courts of law. If found guilty, they would pay the price. People would soon learn to respect the law.
Regardless of the party elected to govern, it would have to work within this democratic framework. The NCPO would seem to be confusing a simple issue.