The military coup led by General Prayuth has shown that it has no time for half measures, with the nation's constitution suspended (apart for the chapter relating to the monarchy), the senate dismissed and an uncertain number of leading political figures, activists, journalists and academics called into detention. The media is under tight control and there are reports today of books critical of the Thai political system being culled from the shelves of bookshops.
Against this background, two thoughtful posts from New Mandala are worthy of consideration, the first by Thai constitutional lawyer Kemthong Tonsakulrungruang, and the second by the ANU's Andrew Walker, one of Australia's best-informed and long-time observers of Thailand.
In the weeks to come, one particular issue will be worthy of attention: the redrafting of Thailand's constitution. Many commentators have argued that the 1997 constitution, whatever its shortcomings, was the fairest ever embraced in modern Thailand. So the question is, what will be the character of the new constitution? Here a post-coup satirical opinion piece in the Bangkok Post is worthy of attention, when it suggests that there could be grossly unfair distribution of electoral boundaries under a military-inspired new constitution, with Chiang Mai, a centre of Red Shirt support dramatically disadvantaged by comparison with Surat Thani, a sourthern bastion of the Yellow Shirts.