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06BANGKOK6003 CONCERNS OVER DRAFT INTERIM CONSTITUTION

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“80130″,”9/29/2006 10:13″,

 

“06BANGKOK6003″,”Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,””,

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DE RUEHBK #6003/01 2721013

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 291013Z SEP 06

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 1991

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RUEHBY/AMEMBASSY CANBERRA 6101

RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL 2152

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC

RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHINGTON DC

RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 006003

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/28/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, MOPS, KDEM, TH

SUBJECT: CONCERNS OVER DRAFT INTERIM CONSTITUTION

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 5973 (SURAYUD TO BE PRIME MINISTER)

 

B. BANGKOK 5929 (THAI OFFICIALS PLEA FOR

UNDERSTANDING)

 

Classified By: Ambassador Ralph L. Boyce, reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

SUMMARY

——–

 

1. (C) The Council for Democratic Reform (CDR) has circulated

a draft interim constitution with provisions that would allow

the military officials in the CDR to retain excessive

influence over the civilian administration. The draft

constitution has likely evolved since this early draft was

circulated, and we are unsure which provisions might appear

in the final document. The Ambassador has expressed USG

concern to likely interim Prime Minister Surayud

Chulanont(ref A) as well as to CDR SecGen Winai Phattiyakul

(septel); the NGO community has also voiced its wariness as

the CDR\’s honeymoon period appears to be ending. END SUMMARY.

 

PROVISIONS OF CONCERN

———————

 

2. (C) On September 27, Embassy contacts provided us with a

text that appears to outline certain general principles for

the interim constitution. The text was provided to us by a

close embassy contact who received it after the CDR shared

the draft with four university rectors. We believe it

accurately represented the thinking of the interim

constitution drafters in recent days. If the

soon-to-be-promulgated interim constitution were to mirror

the text, certain provisions would enable the CDR\’s successor

organization — the Council on National Security (CNS) — to

retain considerable influence over the civilian

administration:

 

– As already reported, the CNS will appoint the Prime

Minister and the members of the National Legislative Council

(NLC — the interim parliament) (Article 7). The CNS will

designate the NLC\’s President and Vice President. (Note:

Technically, the King would make the appointment, but the CNS

would \”countersign\” the King\’s Royal Decree. CNS has already

briefed us that they will select the interim legislature (ref

b). End Note.)

 

– The CNS Chairman (General Sonthi) has the authority to

dismiss the Prime Minister (article 14). Article 34 would

allow the CNS to join cabinet meetings, although it is

unclear in what capacity.

 

– Articles 36 and 37 would provide that the CDR\’s orders and

announcements (which have been issued piecemeal since the

night of the coup) remain in effect and are considered

constitutional. As written, this appears to include those

that restricted civil liberties. However, since Article 3 of

the draft would provide protections for civil liberties, it

is unclear exactly how these two articles would be

reconciled.

 

– Several civil society advocates who have reviewed the draft

text have expressed to us their concern that the draft is

unclear with regard to guarantees on fundamental civil

liberties and human rights.

 

– The CNS will have a very strong role in choosing the

drafters of the new constitution. They will appoint a 2000

member National Assembly \”from all walks of life\” that will

choose 200 of its members for a short list. The CNS,

however, will choose 100 of those to draft the constitution,

and will appoint the President and Vice President of this

Constitution Drafting Council (Articles 19, 22).

 

3. (C) In his September 28 meeting, the Ambassador raised

with Privy Councilor Surayud Chulanont — the most likely

figure to be appointed as Prime Minister — our concerns

about the provisions above (reftel). In our conversations

with members of the academic and NGO community, it is clear

that many of them share our concerns.

 

COMMENT

——-

 

4. (C) The provisions of the final version of the interim

 

BANGKOK 00006003 002 OF 002

 

constitution that has gone forward for the king\’s approval

remain unclear. We hope that the CDR will respond to private

and public expressions of concern and ensure that the interim

civilian administration due to be appointed next week will

have authority to run the government, including authority

over the military. Thai interlocutors often complained that

Thaksin manipulated their institutions so effectively that he

became a de facto dictator; we doubt whether those who felt

this situation warranted a coup would be happier with a de

jure concentration of power in the hands of a small group of

military officers. So, we await promulgation of the interim

constitution to judge whether initial reaction to the draft

has led to improvements in the final version.

BOYCE

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Written by thaicables

July 13, 2011 at 6:17 am

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