Senators seen as PM puppets | Bangkok Post: learning


Learning > Learning From News > Advanced News

Senators seen as PM puppets

This 2018 photo shows the senator selection process at Impact Muang Thong Thani in Nonthaburi province. Over 2,700 candidates were shortlisted to 200 for the junta to handpick to 50.

- +

At least 160 or two-thirds of the 250 newly appointed senators have military or police backgrounds, sparking criticism that the Upper House is a tool to extend the regime's rule, which critics say would renew political conflict.

The Royal Gazette on Tuesday published an announcement on the royally approved list of 250 senators, including 101 generals from both the army and the police force.

Under the current constitution, the 250 senators appointed by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will serve during a so-called five-year transitional period after the March 24 election.

During this period, the regime-appointed Senate will be allowed to join the House of Representatives to vote for a prime minister from prime ministerial candidate lists submitted by parties.

Former finance minister Thirachai Phuvanatnaranubala said the fact that the constitution allows senators to join MPs in voting for a prime minister is unusual and undemocratic.

"It is like an exchange of favours. The prospects for the country of finding a way out of problems are not so bright," Mr Thirachai said.

He added that the number of senators and MPs from the alliance led by the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) would be enough to keep Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha in power.

However, with a marginal majority in the House, the new government will be plagued with instability and it is only a matter of time before problems erupt, Mr Thirachai said. The PPRP-led alliance is expected to garner 253 of 500 House seats to form a coalition government.

"As as result, the new government will have to draw 'cobra' MPs to join it. This means reforms have made no progress after five years of the regime being in power," Mr Thirachai said, adding the senators should vote for a prime minister independently of those who appointed them.

The term "cobra", or ngu hao in Thai, refers to renegade politicians who vote in favour of the opposing side.

Yutthaporn Isarachai, a political scientist from Sukhothai Thammathirat Open University, said the chances of the country finding a way out of its current problems seem limited now it has become clear who the appointed senators are.

The Senate list includes 101 people with military or police ranks such as Gen Preecha Chan-o-cha, Gen Prayut's brother, and Adm Sitthawat Wongsuwon, Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwon's brother.

Learn from listening

Click "play" to listen to Senators seen as PM puppets and "Download" to keep this file for educational purpose.


bright (adj): having reasons to believe that good things will happen; likely to be successful - สดใส, สว่าง

coalition : a temporary union of different political parties that agree to form a government together - พรรคร่วมรัฐบาล

constitution : the set of laws and basic principles that a country in governed by - รัฐธรรมนูญ

favour : a thing that you do to help somebody - ความช่วยเหลือ, ความเอื้อเฟื้อ

garner : to obtain; to get - ได้รับ, รวบรวมได้

House of Representatives : the main lawmaking body in Thailand - สภาผู้แทนราษฎร

instability : a situation that keeps changing, so that you are worried about what might happen - ความไม่มั่นคง

majority : more than 50 percent of a group - เสียงส่วนใหญ่

marginal (adj.): by a small amount - เล็กและไม่สำคัญ, เล็กน้อย

opposing side : rival; a person, group, team or business that competes with another - คู่ต่อสู้, คู่ปรับ, คู่แข่ง

plagued : caused a lot of problems for someone or something for a long period of time - ทำให้ยุ่งยาก ลำบากมานาน

puppet : a person who is controlled by someone else - คนที่ตกเป็นเครื่องมือของผู้อื่น

reform : a change that is intended to correct a situation that is wrong or unfair - การแก้ไข การปฏิรูป

regime : a government that controls a country, especially in a strict or unfair way - รัฐบาลที่ขึ้นมาปกครองโดยการยึดอำนาจ

Senate : one of the two groups of politicians who make laws in some countries, for example in the US, Australia, Canada and Thailand - วุฒิสภา

senator : a member of the Senate - วุฒิสมาชิก

transitional period : a time when important changes take place - ระยะแปรเปลี่ยน

undemocratic : against or not acting according to the principles of democracy - ไม่เป็นประชาธิปไตย

Upper House (noun): The Senate in a system with two lawmaking bodies – a bicameral legislature, the other being the House of Representatives - วุฒิสภา


1 people commented about the above

Readers are urged not to submit comments that may cause legal dispute including slanderous, vulgar or violent language, incorrectly spelt names, discuss moderation action, quotes with no source or anything deemed critical of the monarchy. More information in our terms of use.

Please use our forum for more candid, lengthy, conversational and open discussion between one another.

  • Latest
  • Oldest
  • Most replied to
  • Most liked
  • Most disliked

    Click here to view more comments

    Over 100,000 stock images of Bangkok Post editorial photography available now in high resolution images.