A compromise is needed more than ever
There's a fear of political turmoil increasing and delaying election
CDRM chief General Sonthi Boonyaratglin with a list of the Councilís work since the takeover last week.
Make no mistake about it - the road back to an elected government is long and winding.
The military takeover has not solved the political crisis; it has merely provided a road map to sort out the mess. This week an interim civilian government is expected to emerge and by next year the nation should have a new charter that will usher in a general election.
An independent panel, led by legal expert Meechai Ruchuphan, has been tasked to rewrite the 1997 Constitution to improve the political system.
While the political rules are being overhauled, the interim government will administer the country and an interim National Assembly, comprising around 200 appointed members, will oversee the legislative work.
All interim authorities are to function under the supervision of the Council for Democratic Reform under Constitutional Monarchy (CDRM).
Although the road map to end the political uncertainty is clear, the question is whether politicians of all stripes, military leaders and the ruling elite can forge a compromise in order to leave fractious politics behind.
Political turbulence will likely increase and may delay the next election if relevant parties insist on pursuing their way instead of mending fences.
The political landscape during the restoration of political normalcy will depend on three issues - the dual leadership of the interim government and the CDRM, the debate on proposed constitutional amendments and the fight to root out corruption.
In regard to dual leadership, the Thanin Kraivixian government in 1976 and the two Anand Panyarachun administrations in 1991 and 1992 should serve as reminders that frictions are bound to happen whenever the country embraces two power poles at once.
CDRM leader General Sonthi Boonyaratglin is known as a career soldier harbouring no political ambitions, but the same cannot be said about his military allies. The soldiers have subjugated the political machinery and some may be led astray by the lure of wealth and power.
To get anything accomplished in the coming months, the interim government and the CDRM will have to forge an understanding or install a mechanism that ensures they move in unison.
The danger is that the military's top brass and civilian leaders could end up pitching against one another. The lesson from the Thanin government is that the military had to intervene twice in less than a year to find a workable administration.
The debate on rewriting the constitution is expected to heat up and may become counter-productive to political reform if the drafting process excludes the public. Rival political camps and an increasing number of law scholars have already questioned whether the new charter will ensure fair play or perpetuate the power of selected civilian and military leaders.
Many key issues are expected to dominate the public debate on the new charter. These include the future of independent organisations and the format to regulate airwaves for broadcasting and telecommunications.
If politicians refuse to compromise, then the charter-drafting may drag on beyond the one-year deadline. Relevant parties must forge a consensus in redrawing the new set of rules for politicking.
In its campaign to root out corruption, the CDRM is, in fact, crusading to uproot the tentacles of power and the legacy of abuses left by the Thaksin regime. Graft-busters have to tread carefully through myriad cases involving ousted politicians.
Hasty action may lead to a repeat of the 1991 graft probe in which all 25 politicians were able to defeat charges relating to their alleged ill-gotten wealth.
The CDRM is poised to prosecute leaders of the previous government in order to send a clear message to future politicians. The upcoming graft trials are expected to serve as lesson to deter political-office holders from becoming greedy.