Reserve Senators Stacked With Junta Favourites, Unsurprisingly

Thailand's May 25, 2019 Parliament meeting.
Thailand's May 25, 2019 Parliament meeting.

BANGKOK — Conservatives and individuals with prior ties to the junta dominate a list of reserve senators released Tuesday.

The 50 reserve senators, publicized in the Royal Gazette, include Election Commission sec-gen Jarungvith Phumma, foreign minister Don Pramudwinai, former deputy governor of Bangkok Pol. Lt. Gen. Amnuay Nimmano, and former member of the junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly Prapan Koonme.

Reserve senators stand by to replace members of the junta-appointed senate who resign or are unable to serve out their full five-year term.

The selection process for the reserve senators has been shrouded in the same secrecy that cloaked the selection of the 250 junta-appointed senators, despite calls for transparency from activists.

Former Election Commissioner Somchai Srisuthiyakorn has questioned whether the selection of the reserve senators was completed within three days after the announcement of the March 2019 election result, as is required by law.

“I heard news saying the list was only submitted to the senate speaker on June 10,” wrote Somchai on Facebook Wednesday morning with a hashtag “If there is law, we must act according to the law.”

In other efforts, seven anti-junta political parties petitited the junta last Tuesday to reveal the names of the senate selection committee as proof of its constitutionality.