Assistant news editor
Chairith Yonpiam is assistant news editor, Bangkok Post.
It appears the third wave of Covid-19 in Thailand, with top entertainment venues in the Thong Lor area as its epicentre, is more severe than the previous two rounds. Virologists have detected the UK strain of the virus, which spreads 1.7 times faster than the variants this country has previously coped with. This is alarming.
As the charter amendment bill was shot down in parliament earlier this month, it is apparent that the process -- a crucial factor for national reconciliation -- will not be completed during the tenure of the Prayut Chan-o-cha government. The failure of the amendment push came as no surprise as it was the aspiration of Meechai Ruchupan, the head of the charter drafting committee, to make changes an uphill task.
The terse and vague ruling by the Constitutional Court over the legality of the charter amendment process has given an opportunity for the Prayut Chan-o-cha government and the Senate to interpret it in a way that fits their hidden agenda, extending the process further.
On the one hand, the Criminal Court's verdict on Wednesday, which threw core figures of the now-defunct People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) in jail for their role in the 2013-2014 protests, means a cabinet reshuffle is on the way. Particularly for the Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), the ruling is a political windfall for the faction led by Deputy Prime Minister Gen Prawit Wongsuwon who can now tighten his grip on the ruling party.
A number of political developments, ie the waning pro-reform movement and the major loss of the Move Forward Party in local elections, may have given the Prayut Chan-o-cha government and the Palang Pracharath Party such a false sense of confidence that they feel they can now move to delay the process of rewriting the constitution.