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Some Article 44 orders to become permanent laws

PLANS RELATED to the future of the junta’s sweeping Article 44 orders were in place, with each order being classified on a case-by-case basis, including plans to upgrade some into permanent laws and revoking others, Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam said yesterday.

While the ruling junta will eventually step down, the all-powerful Article 44 orders could remain in force – until they are either upgraded or revoked by permanent laws or resolutions, depending on the purposes and effects of each order.

Much criticised for its lack of checks and balances, Article 44’s absolute power granted to the head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) will expire when the next post-election government is established.

However, existing orders will remain in place pending new laws or Cabinet resolutions issued to upgrade or revoke them.

The Article 44 clause actually stems from the defunct 2014 interim charter, but the junta-written 2017 Constitution allows the NCPO to continue to exercise the power in the post-coup interim, which in practice has resulted in new orders being issued continuously.

The latest order was to controversially amend the political party law.

Most of about 200 orders issued under Article 44 will remain in force until they are countermanded by other laws or resolutions, depending on the nature of the orders, said Wissanu, the NCPO’s legal adviser.

Orders that had legal ramifications would be revoked by legislation, he added, while those with administrative effects, such as reshuffle officials, could be revoked by Cabinet resolutions.

Some orders that had been enacted to “immediately solve problems” could be upgraded into permanent bills or decrees – but only if responsible agencies proceeded according to parliamentary mechanisms, Wissanu said.

Some would need to be revoked by further Article 44 orders, while others could expire on their own, Wissanu said.

“We always think when and how these orders will come to an end,” he added. While it was still unclear when Article 44 powers would expire, it could be possible to legislate a single bill to revoke multiple orders, Wissanu said.

Wissanu spoke after the Cabinet concluded on Tuesday to set guidelines for the issuance of Article 44 orders after three years of seeing abundant requests from state agencies. He reiterated that all orders invoking absolute powers would need to be concluded one way or another.

“They will all be either upgraded or revoked. All offices should keep in mind to not be too dependent on [absolute powers],” he said.

The Nation 

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