Democrats and the political use of the monarchy

30 07 2009

One of the reasons PPT was established was to highlight the political nature of lese majeste in Thailand. We have also tried to keep readers abreast of other developments related to the political use of the monarchy.

Now, as the Democrat Party-led government and its backers get worried about the petition being circulated for Thaksin Shinawatra’s supposed royal pardon, they are moving into high gear.

We reported on the PAD-Privy Council calls earlier.

The Bangkok Post (30 July 2009: “People urged not to join pardon drive”) reports that the “government has warned supporters of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) that petitioning for a royal pardon for Thaksin Shinawatra will only stir up divisive emotions in Thai society.”

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban has been reported as expressing “his concern over the matter, saying that Thais should not do anything that disturbs His Majesty the King.”

Apparently, Suthep claims that the “government has tried to explain to the people that the petition for a royal pardon for Thaksin is inappropriate…”.

But here is the point: “the government cannot take any action if no wrong has yet been committed.”

So the Democrats are telling people that they cannot conduct legal activities because it might “disturb” the monarch. But using his name to oppose political opponents seems okay.

With the encouragement of PAD and the privy council, this anti-UDD campaign is certainly heating up.

Update: The Nation (30 July 2009) now reports that the government is to use the state-run media to “launch an awareness campagin to remind the public about the improper conduct to politicise the monarchy via the pardon petition. This according to PM’s Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoei, who has said he wanted to free the state media. Of course he wants to do no such thing.

Then he seems to want to come up with new interpretations of laws, saying “The issue of a royal pardon has caused so much confusion and organisers of the signature campaign have been acting in reckless disregard for the law…”. Now it is to be against the law to bother the king!

One thing is certain: the Democrat Party jumps when their real bosses tell them to.

New update:  New Mandala has an excellent post by Nick Nostitz on Bhum Jai Thai Party efforts to oppose the petition. In addition, the Bangkok Post (31 July 2009: “Special TV programme on royal pardon”) reports that there will be a special program on television tonight, via NBT – recall that this was the station accused of political bias by PAD under the previous governments. The reliable non-democratic member of the Democrat Party, Minister  Sathit said “other TV and radio stations will be asked to also broadcast it…”.

The television program coicides with a red-shirt rally.

The Democrats and the palace are extremely fearful of the petition campaign.



4 responses

31 07 2009
New: More on opposition to the pardon campaign « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] New: More on opposition to the pardon campaign PPT has been observing the increasingly panicked responses by the palace and government as the red shirt “royal pardon” petition for Thaksin Shinawatra  has gathered pace (see here and here). […]

31 07 2009
ประชาธิปัตย์ใช้ราชวงศ์เป็นเครื่องมือหากิน « Liberal Thai

[…] the political use of the monarchy ๓๐ กรกฏาคม ๒๕๕๒ ที่มา – Political Prisoners in Thailand แปลและเรียบเรียง – chapter […]

31 07 2009
ประชาธิปัตย์ใช้ราชวงศ์เป็นเครื่องมือหากิน « Liberal Thai 1

[…] the political use of the monarchy ๓๐ กรกฏาคม ๒๕๕๒ ที่มา – Political Prisoners in Thailand แปลและเรียบเรียง – chapter […]

22 09 2009

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