Continuing PPT’s Wikileaks posts, this cable, dated 26 April 2006, refers to the king’s speeches to judges following the April 2006 election, which several opposition parties had boycotted in alliance with, and under pressure from, the People’s Alliance for Democracy.
The cable was apparently the work of U.S. Embassy Charge d’Affaires Alex A. Arvizu. He concludes that these speeches “have tossed everything up in the air, and it will be a few days before we see where they come down.”
The king is reported as having given “two of the most direct and to-the-point speeches in recent years to the newly sworn-in judges of the Administrative and Supreme Courts.”
The cable states that in these speeches,
the King questioned the democratic nature of the April 2 general elections as well as the ‘correctness’ of dissolving Parliament and calling for snap elections in the first place. He reminded the Administrative Court that it is their job to consider these issues, and opened the possibility of nullifying the elections. He further asserted that invoking Article 7 of the Constitution to have the royally-appointed Prime Minister would be undemocratic, The King therefore called on the courts and other institutions to work together to resolve the current political chaos.”
The judges of the “three high courts (Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional) will meet on Friday to propose a way ‘out of the woods’.”
This is all reasonably well known. What seems interesting is the embassy’s perspective on the king’s position. After noting that his first speech to judges of the Administrative Court, asserted that the election was “undemocratic” the cable states that the king
further questioned why no one discussed whether dissolving the Parliament and calling for a snap election within thirty days was the “correct” decision in the first place. If not, he suggested, one would need to “solve the problem,” including “perhaps nullifying the elections.”
The Constitution required an election within 60 days.
Recall that, in earlier cables, palace officials repeatedly claimed the king wasn’t about to intervene and that the courts would probably sort things out. A month later, the king has intervened and is pushing the courts to sort things out by nullifying the election. His message here is crystal clear. Just in case the judges wavered, the king added this warning: “If you cannot do it, then it should be you who resign, not the government, for failing to perform your duties.”
In speaking to the “new members of the Supreme Court,” the king stated that “he disagreed with opening the House unless all 500 MP seats are filled.” His view, not tested in any court, was that the House could not operate until every single seat was filled.
The king is reported to have “stressed that the current political state is quite a ‘mess’, and that for him to intervene would only make it messier.” So this intervention must have been a “non-intervention,” for the the king publicly “called on the three courts (Constitutional, Administrative, and Supreme Courts) to work together to ‘urgently decide, otherwise the country would collapse’.”
The top judges of the three courts almost immediately announced that they would meet “to provide an solution to lead the country ‘out of the woods’.”
What a difference a royal “non-intervention” made! The Embassy comments on the king’s actions:
His very strong statements opening his remarks at the Administrative Court, and his directive to the judges to come up with a solution, were … startling. It is hard to imagine the courts really deciding that these elections should be annulled, and even harder to imagine exactly what would follow to fill the vacuum this would create…. With the King’s imprimatur to find a solution, they [Supreme and Administrative Courts] may feel empowered to propose a bold plan to sort out this extremely messy situation.”
The judges acted with whirlwind speed and annulled the election. What followed this was a palace-organized process of getting the military in place for a coup.