With the royalists mounting yet another challenge to an elected government, the only thing that seems new for this lot is the use of the Guy Fawkes masks. Even these masks are a tired plagiarism of something done elsewhere.
Just to make everyone realize that absolutely nothing has changed for the royalists, the Thai Patriotic Front or Network has dredged up a ploy that was the strategy that marked the People’s Alliance for Democracy as a royalist instrument.
Yes, in a throwback move, the so-called Patriots have:
filed a petition seeking the Royal appointment of a new prime minister, citing what it described as failures by the current government on such issues as amnesty legislation, the rice-pledging policy and the Bt2-trillion infrastructure loans.
Chaiwat Sinsuwong and his small band anti-elected government ultra-royalists have submitted a “petition to the Royal Household Bureau seeking the Royal appointment of a new prime minister.”
We can only assume that this throwback action is a reference to Article 7 of the constitution. It states: “Whenever no provision under this Constitution is applicable to any case, it shall be decided in accordance with the constitutional convention in the democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State.”
Readers may recall that Article 7 of the then 1997 charter was also used by anti-Thaksin Shinawatra protesters in 2005 and 2006. PAD pushed the use of this article very strongly. As Michael Connors explained it in his well-known Journal of Contemporary Asia article, the call for royal intervention was persistent and became a plea for the king to sack Thaksin [Shinawatra], supported by PAD and the Democrat Party. He also notes that the Democrat Party was prepared to use Article 7 in other circumstances in 2006 (p. 158). They made another call for its use in 2012.
Article 7 was introduced to the 1997 constitution by conservative royalists just before it was promulgated, and after public hearing were completed (p. 150). Connors argues that “the effect of Article 7 was to limit the reach of all … new [democratic] claims by empowering a traditionalistic and royalist interpretation should one be so required” (pp. 150-1).
While the 2005 plea was rejected by the palace, it led to the king’s call on the judiciary to intervene following the abortive 2006 election, which eventually led to the 2006 military coup and the political struggles that have continued to this day as the royalists prefer the intervention of unelected and unrepresentative powers against elected and popular political regimes. Article 7 pits the elite against the people.