BANGKOK — Some special laws enacted by the junta’s absolute power will stay in place even after the new government takes over, a deputy prime minister confirmed Tuesday.
Wissanu Krea-ngam said the junta will soon issue a special order to dissolve nearly all 100 special laws or “orders” implemented during its reign – which range from media control to replacing governors – though “fewer than 10” will remain effective. He did not name what those laws might be.
“We will leave fewer than 10 orders in place as requested by different state agencies,” Wissanu said at Government House.
Under Section 44 of the 2014 constitution enacted after the coup, junta chairman Prayuth Chan-ocha had the authority to enact any legal measure deemed necessary to improve national security and the economy.
The provision continued to be invoked even after a new charter came into effect in 2017, and even after the March 24 election, drawing protests from junta opponents who accuse Prayuth of interfering with the transition to the so-called civilian government.
Indeed, Prayuth invoked Article 44 just yesterday to block the selection of new national telecommunications regulators. But the junta chief said today he will no longer resort to his special powers as the new cabinet is being deliberated by His Majesty the King.
“The time of using Section 44 is over,” Prayuth said at a news conference. “Even though I can still use it until the ceremony to swear in the new cabinet, I don’t think it would be appropriate.”
While the government has defended the provision as a measure to better enforce the law, the opposition says Section 44 was effectively a blank cheque for Gen. Prayuth to enact policies without scrutiny.