Daniel Ten Kate at Bloomberg has a useful account of Thaksin Shinawatra’s thinking on lese majeste reform. Since the election of the Yingluck Shinawatra government, while the number of chargesunder Article 112 and the Computer Crimes law have been significantly reduced, an unknown number of people remain in jail on these charges and convictions and the government has shown itself jellyfish-like in in the spine department when dealing with the lese majeste law. Now Thaksin provides some of the reasoning on this.
Thaksin says that any change to Article 112 “should come from his advisers.” Thaksin is quoted: “The privy councilors should be the ones who consider whether we should emphasize the process, whether it should be amended…. I don’t think the government will initiate. It must be initiated from the privy councilors.”
Thaksin reportedly “said judges had abused their authority with severe punishments for lese majeste in recent years.”
More controversially, Thaksin is cited on succession: “There shouldn’t be any problem about the succession of the throne,” Thaksin said, noting that the king is still continuing to work even though he is in the hospital. “There is nothing to worry.”
As Bloomberg notes, “Bhumibol has lived in a Bangkok hospital since 2009, suffering from various illnesses and back pain.” Indeed, he hasn’t been visible for more than a month following his most recent brain bleeding crisis, and as recently as 5 days ago he suffered another health crisis.
In the Bloomberg tradition, a business analysts states:
The royal succession may lead to inconveniences for businesses because of a mourning period, while more significant disruptions that would come from a derailed succession process are ‘very unlikely’…. The transition over time will prompt a decline in the monarchy’s political significance and allow for ‘a much delayed public discussion around how to modernize the institution’….
The test of these and Thaksin’s views on succession is not that far off.
Update: The only update we made was in adding the picture, from a reader, that we thought was kind of appropriate for this post, with Yingluck with the crown prince’s eldest daughter who has recently been tossed a position as ambassador to Austria, as if she is some kind of experienced diplomat. The cosying up that Thaksin and Yingluck have been engaged in is again displayed.