BANGKOK — Military top brass and the junta’s inner circle dominate the full list of 250 appointed senators unveiled to the public on Monday, ending months of secrecy.
The list – mostly handpicked by junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha – includes generals, loyal government technocrats, 15 ex-ministers who served under Prayuth until their resignation last week, and even a younger brother of the junta leader.
Hardline critics of ex-leader Thaksin Shinawatra, who remains a popular figure among opposition voters, also made it to the final cut. They include poet and activist Nawarat Pongpaiboon, former anti-corruption chief Klanarong Chanthik, and royalist law scholar Kamnoon Sitthisamarn.
See the Full Senate List HERE (Thai)
Junta leaders maintained their silence until the names were released, with Prayuth and his deputy Anupong Paochinda refusing to take questions from the media this morning.
“Not answering political stuff today,” Gen. Anupong told crowds of reporters curtly before entering Government House.
It’s Thailand’s first fully unelected upper house in recent decades. Of the 250 current senators, 244 were handpicked by the ruling junta while the other six are commanders of the armed forces.
The senators will have the power to scrutinize the elected lower house. They are also authorized by the junta-backed constitution to intervene if the lower house is unable to settle on the next prime minister.
The names were posted on the Royal Government Gazette shortly after midday.
Despite calls for transparency from activists, the junta has repeatedly refused to disclose the names of those considered for the upper house, citing national security.