Real royal news

1 08 2013

As almost everyone knows, the king has been ensconced on a floor of Siriraj Hospital for almost four years. The queen has been hidden since her stroke in July 2012. Hence, this is really big news:

Their Majesties the King and the Queen will leave Siriraj Hospital at 4pm today for Klai Kangwon Palace in Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Hua Hin district.

Provincial governor Veera Sriwatanatrakul said local authorities and residents were very excited to welcome Their Majesties.

His Majesty was admitted to the hospital in Bangkok in September 2009 with a respiratory condition while Her Majesty was treated for an irregular heartbeat in 2012.

The question is: why move now? As we noted some time ago, whenever there are important political events, the king has been seen and has intervened. He has emerged from hospital in concert with political events. This means that the present move – and it is the most significant – must inevitably be related to political events. We note three reports, all from The Nation, that would lead people to conclude that the royal departure for Hua Hin is related to politics.

First, yellow-hued media pundits are predicting a potentially violent showdown. An op-ed at The Nation summarizes the detail:

As the new parliamentary session approaches, the political situation is becoming intense. Detractors and rivals of the government are taking to the streets after having waited for two years, since the ruling coalition came to power.

The government has been accused repeatedly of corruption, favouritism, unfair treatment, double standards and acting for the benefit of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra. The apparent goal is to undermine the government’s legitimacy in running the country.

Then this:

A group of militant anti-government protesters have been trained by former Army captain Songklod Chuenchuphol, in the same way as the late red-shirt strategist Maj-General Khattiya Sawatdiphol did, ahead of the red shirts’ major rallies in 2010.

Of course, Khattiya was a maverick, at times disowned by the official red shirts and, in fact, did little “training.” He was cut down by a sniper.

The op-ed predicts violence.

Second, the government has invoked the Internal Security Act (ISA) in three Bangkok districts in preparing for the parliamentary debate on an amnesty bill. This suggests the government is also expecting a showdown that may be violent. Interestingly, though, the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) “announced yesterday it would not take part in protests against an amnesty bill…”. This is probably a feint, allowing its supporters to participate while keeping “the group’s leading figures and supporters [who] have been banned by the Criminal Court from taking part in such events” out of jail.

Red shirts are also being mobilized, suggesting the potential for clashes. Jatuporn Promphan explained: “The current situation is not normal. If we take a misstep, we will face the same fate as we did before…”.

Third, the usual “little bomb” marker of potential conflict has been established. The Nation reports that a “hand grenade was hurled at the house of Vice Admiral Pajun Tamprateep, a close aide to Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda, in the early hours of yesterday. It did not explode and its safety pin had not been removed.”

All of this suggests that royal preparations are also under way for what might become a major political showdown.



2 responses

3 08 2013
Moving royals and tanks | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] a recent post, PPT pointed to some real royal news. This was the sudden move of the essentially invalid king and queen to their Hua Hin palace, where […]

3 08 2013
Moving royals and tanks | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] a recent post, PPT pointed to some real royal news. This was the sudden move of the essentially invalid king and queen to their Hua Hin palace, where […]

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