Lese majeste and limiting democracy

9 02 2012

Yesterday PPT posted on the arguably unconstitutional approach to a legal petition on the reform of the lese majeste law by the speaker of the House.

Now Police boss Priewphan Damapong has told the Nitirat group that “the authorities were keeping a close watch over its activities…”.  He added: “We will arrest [you] for any wrongful moves and any illegal activities will face prosecution…”.

Priewphan essentially makes the Nitirat group’s point. Using the law to protect a draconian law, not from abolition but from the possibility of reform.

Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung was reportedly preparing a Cabinet resolution against any attempts to amend Article 112 on lese majeste.

What is it about a call to amend a law by a few academic lawyers that throws the royalist elite into such a spin? Why is it that the royalist elite’s response is simply reaction? Why is it that the royalist elite must resort to censorship and repression whenever it is challenged? What, exactly, does it defend?

The response of Nitirat aligned persons is interesting. Yukti Mukdavichit from Thammasat University said Chalerm’s idea is “hilarious”. He added: “Our campaign is based on constitutional right.”

Yukti continued to criticize Chalerm:

“It also means that people in the government do not understand human rights and liberty under a democratic system. [Such an idea] is also unconstitutional,” said Yukti, warning that Chalerm and even the Cabinet could be charged with restricting the constitutional right to amend law by citizens.

Labour activist Jitra Kotchadej said:

Chalerm has shown himself to not be respectful of people’s constitutional rights and reflects a lack of respect for the democratic process. “I’m surprised because Chalerm was elected… It’s horrible.”

As much as it might be both hilarious and horrible, this is the response of the royalist elite when challenged. Of course it has no respect for constitutional rights or democracy for they are the ideas that challenge it political hegemony and economic stranglehold.


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