The government, the monarchy and the politicization of the bureaucracy

14 08 2009

PPT has never thought of the bureaucracy as “apolitical,” but readers may remember that Thaksin Shinawatra was accused of politicizing the bureaucracy. Now the Democrat Party-led coalition government is similarly engaged.

It is reported in The Nation (14 August 2009: “29 top permanent officials against Thaksin petition”) that all “29 senior-most officials at the level of permanent secretary issued a statement opposing the [Thaksin Shinawatra] pardon petition [by the red shirts] and calling for an intercession for the document not to reach the King.” Apparently these senior officials consider the “petition was designed to involve the monarchy in the political struggle.” They seem to think that the petition raises “doubts will remain about the impartiality of the monarchy,” and they urge that it is “a duty of every citizen and the civil service to uphold the monarchy above and beyond politics.” Finally, they add that the “petition, if allowed to proceed to reach the attention of the King, will cause irreparable damage to the country’s revered institution.”

This is no more than a reiteration of the monarchical ideology. However, all of this anti-petition action suggests that the government and its conservative backers are panicked but also raising the potential for conflict and perhaps even motivating it. This is dangerous.



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