Some years ago I coauthored some work on the concept of ‘superintendence’ agencies, understood as non-elected institutions that provide “horizontal exchange.” The agencies provide checks on the executive and legislature that go well beyond the more typical constitutionality determinations by courts (rejecting laws or decrees, for example). Instead, superintendence agencies substitute for gaps in the “vertical” relationship between voters (the ultimate principal in a democracy) and their elected agents.
The basic idea behind the design of superintendence institutions seems to be an attempt to answer the question: but what happens when the voters themselves choose “bad” agents–those who violate election laws and other constitutional and legal provisions that are meant to ensure “good government.”
There has been quite a proliferation in recent decades of such agencies, including evermore powerful electoral commissions (whose authority extends well beyond mere administration of elections), independent prosecutors, human rights ombudsmen, counter-corruption commissions, and the like. Several superintendence institutions were created in recent constitutional overhauls in Colombia (where they are operative) and Venezuela (where they mostly are not), among other countries. However, perhaps nowhere has the concept of superintendence gone so far as in Thailand’s constitutional innovations of 1997.
This is all a long set-up for a question for the readers: Can anyone identify another case where an unelected institution–other than armed forces, of course–has dismissed a sitting chief executive? This just happened in Thailand:
The Constitution Court moved with unusual speed on Tuesday to dismiss Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat and outlaw the ruling People Power party. […]
PPP leaders vowed to form another government under the Puea Thai party label. But it will be without Mr Somchai, who was banned from politics for five years. […]
Also banned by the court was the venerable Chart Thai party and the Matchimatipataya, both key members of the coalition government. […]
It is expected that the three banned parties will reunite under the Puea Thai (For Thais) party, and form a government from surviving members of parliament. […]
The court decision banned the parties and all their executives because of cheating in the Dec 23, 2007, election. But the decision has no immediate effect on other MPs or their ability to form a government.
I covered the election at the time: click the country name in the “Planted in” line to see them.