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Astonishing Power Play: Thailand’s Government Plans to Nullify Previous Authoritarian Rules – Will This Usher in a Wave of Unforeseen Reforms?

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The Thai governmental authorities have set a course towards consulting their legal advisory institution, the Council of State, in relation to possibly rescinding certain directives and announcements that were formerly put forth by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), a body now defunct. The present Prime Minister, Srettha Thavisin, publicly announced this intent, attributing the move to the apparent redundancy and obstructions that parts of the former NCPO’s orders are currently presenting to governmental operations and the day-to-day existence of Thai citizens.

Previously, Chai Wacharonke, the spokesperson for the government, disclosed that Prime Minister Thavisin had instructed a range of ministries and government departments to evaluate the necessity of keeping any previous instructions they had received from the NCPO. The final date has been fixed for October 9 to submit such requests to the cabinet. If no plea for keeping these orders is raised, they are expected to be nullified.

When asked to shed light on the mechanism the government is planning to follow to retract these directives, Wacharonke asserted that the present government by itself is sovereign enough to rescind all orders from the NCPO promptly. In addition, he clarified even mandates put forth under Section 44 of the interim constitution, put into effect post the 2014 coup, could potentially be revoked, barring any extension requests by the defined deadline. The same Section 44 had accorded substantial powers to the ex-Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, in his capacity as the head of the NCPO, whereby he could supersede all diverse laws. Consequently, it was incorporated into the current constitution along with Section 279, thus further legitimizing NCPO directives and proclamations.

Nevertheless, these orders retain the potential of being altered or entirely discarded by legislative means passed by the Parliament, mandates through a Prime Minister, or resolutions by the Cabinet. In a viewpoint dissenting from Wacharonke’s, a Pheu Thai list MP, Noppadon Pattama expressed on social media that the government does not essentially hold sovereignty. Hence, in the event any orders from the NCPO are desired to be revoked, an assessment must be made regarding their degree of significance. If any order from the NCPO is akin to a Cabinet resolution, the Cabinet wields the power of issuing a new resolution to repeal that order. Conversely, if the order holds an equivalence to a law, then a law must be duly passed by Parliament with the intent of amending or even revoking it, as reported by the Bangkok Post. The Thaiger’s Facebook page extends a platform for following more of these latest stories.

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