The new military government of Thailand is tightening restrictions on political parties, assuming all legislative authority, and claiming it will be a year before elections are held again under a new constitution.
Thailand’s suspended constitution had been in place only sine 1997, when it was enacted with broad national consensus and much international acclaim in the wake of the currency crisis. Among the world’s constitutions, it would rank pretty high as a modern democratic document. Among the problems of Thai democracy–and there are many–the constitution would rank pretty low.
The main opposition Democrats deny that there is a need for a new constitution, but the military’s restrictions include all parties, not just that of the ousted leader.
It remains early in the process, but this is beginning to seem less like Poder Moderador (being an arbiter, a la Brazilian and most Latin American coups before the 1960s) and more institutional (i.e., bent on changing the regime and not merely the government). That is not to say that we are looking at 15-20 years of military rule (as was the case in much of South America), but the Thai military seemingly has adopted a transformative mission. If so, it is likely to be in power for more than the avdertised one year.
Note: I do not plan to continue regular updates on the military junta, until such time as a constitutional or electoral process is again underway.