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Coups in Thailand to be “outlawed”. Is it possible?

Today, May 22, 2024, is the tenth anniversary of the coup led by General Prayut Chan-o-cha and the Royal Thai Army, ousting the elected government of Yingluck Shinawatra and the Phew Thai Party. Her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, was removed from government in 2006 by another coup.

So for the Shinawatra family and the Phew Thai Party (and earlier Thai Rak Thai), it’s personal.

Now the Pheu Thai Party, under the premiership of Srettha Thavison, is committing to rewriting the military-backed 2017 constitution and advocating for an anti-coup law to prevent military takeovers from being recognised as legitimate.

Pheu Thai condemned coups as “illegal actions that undermine democracy and hinder the country’s progress”. The party explicitly rejected any form of military overthrow of elected governments and opposed amnesties for coup leaders. They labeled coups as crimes against humanity and democracy, noting that such actions have always set the country back rather than fostering prosperity.

A party spokesman, Danuporn Punnakanta, called on courts and state agencies to reject the notion that coups can result in legitimate governments.

“Pheu Thai will push for a law to permanently ban the recognition of coup leaders as legitimate rulers.”

Chusak Sirinil, Pheu Thai’s deputy leader says that it is crucial to amend the 2017 constitution.

“The constitution was established after the 2014 coup. The party aims to include mechanisms in the new charter to prevent future coups before the government’s term ends. Accepting coup leaders as legitimate rulers is fundamentally wrong and urged the public to oppose such actions.”

In the past, successive coups have come to power and simply written their own constitutions, as in the case of the NCPO (the name of the 2014 coup) when they wrote the 2017 constitution which remains in place at this time.

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