BANGKOK — A proposal by the opposition to set up a panel to prevent future military coups failed to pass a vote in the the House of Representatives on Thursday.
The House voted 242 against 215 to reject the plan, which was submitted by Future Forward Party sec-gen Piyabutr Saengkanokkul earlier this month. Two abstain from voting. The voting came after 47 MPs took to the floor to debate the proposal, which the Future Forward said could be a solution to end the chronic cycle of coups in Thailand.
Under the plan, the panel would identify risks that could lead to military coups in the future and act against them. Thailand witnessed 13 ‘successful’ coups, and many other failed attempts, since the end of absolute monarchy in 1932.
Piyabutr told the House before voting took place that the past two military coup in 2006 and 2014 were the main cause in creating the current political division.
“The legitimacy of elections was destroyed. and this led to many people having no trust in the parliamentary system,” he said.
The failure to pass the motion did not surprise many critics of the government, led by former junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-ocha who enjoys a majority in the House and Senate.
Sombat Boonngam-anong, an activist who led a brief attempt to resist the May 2014 coup in the immediate aftermath, was one of them.
“I can’t quite fully say that this is a government from the people. It’s more like it’s a military regime which continued to survive through elections,” Sombat said. “That’s why they are preserving [the junta’s legacies] and protecting them from scrutiny.”