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An Explanation of Section 44 of the Interim Constitution

10 April 2015

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-Ngam has given an explanation of Section 44 of the Interim Constitution of Thailand to members of the diplomatic corps and foreign media.
The explanation was made on 7 April 2015 at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs after the announcement on the revocation of martial law on 1 April 2015.
Mr. Wissanu said that Section 44 is similar to previous sections in Thailands interim constitutions of the past. The most recent one was the Interim Constitution of 1991, which grants special authority and powers during unusual political situations. As the countrys current political and security situation is not normal but more of a post-conflict and reconciliation period, Section 44 has thus been included into the Interim Constitution of 2014, which represents the sixth time that a section of such a kind has been promulgated since 1959.
It was also highlighted that Section 44 has been inspired by Section16 of the French Constitution concerning the use of special measures available to the President of the French Republic during special circumstances.
Mr. Wissanu pointed out that Section 44 can and will be used for constructive purposes, such as for completing certain tasks that would normally take considerable time to implement, even though such tasks may be related to an urgent issue for the government. Examples in this case include the establishment of Special Economic Zones and the implementation of improvements to Thailands civil aviation industry to comply with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) standards. This was mentioned by the Prime Minister during a weekly address to the public.
In the security dimension, Mr. Wissanu expressed his view on how Order No.3/2015 of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) falls under Section 44 of the Interim Constitution. In doing so, a comparative analysis was made with the 1914 Martial Law, the 2005 Executive Decree on Public Administration in Emergency Situations, and the 2008 Internal Security Act.
 Given the current situation, in particular the possibility for public disorder, the issuance of Order No.3 by the NCPO is seen as a measure for the military and security units to effectively prevent the resurfacing of violent conflict when deemed necessary.
Neither Martial Law nor a State of Emergency is declared, while only four specific types of offenses are considered under this Order, including those against the Monarchy, threaten national security, involve war grade weapons, and those in violation of any NCPO orders passed up to 12 September 2014. Other offenses are covered by existing laws of criminal procedure.
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