BANGKOK — A government emergency decree that granted His Majesty the King a personal control over two army units was approved today by all parties in Parliament except the Future Forward.
The party was the lone faction to vote against the decree, which party co-leader Piyabutr Saengkanokkul said was issued in an unnecessary haste and bypassed the usual scrutiny in Parliament. The bill was passed by 376 to 70. Two MPs abstained.
The rest of the opposition bench, including Pheu Thai and Puea Chart, voted in favor of the decree, which was enacted unilaterally by the government on Sep. 30 without approval from the lawmakers.
The government insisted there was an unspecified “emergency” that required the bill to be passed immediately.
Explaining his party’s opposition to the decree in parliament earlier, Piyabutr said the government’s actions amount to disrespecting democratic channels. He compares it to the use of absolute power under the previous junta.
“Gen. Prayuth [Chan-ocha] exercises his power without a care for the constitution,” the former law scholar said.
The Sep. 30 decree cut off the 1st and 11th Infantry Divisions from the army’s structure and put them under the king’s personal command, with the stated aim of better coordination in providing security to the Royal Family.