More on succession

10 08 2014

It has to be admitted that Wikileaks, the 2006 coup, the role the palace played in that, the royalist opposition to electoral representation, the infamous birthday video, and the rise of the successionist line in blogs and on social media have changed the way most of the world thinks about Thailand’s monarchy. The recent coup hasn’t helped the monarchy either, and the military dictatorship’s repeated denials of the palace’s involvement only confirms suspicions that the old men of the palace are continually meddling.

Whereas almost all of the world’s media once referred to the “revered monarchy,” that line is now usually accompanied by a note that royalists want to “control” succession and/or that the crown prince is not particularly popular.

There’s been a flurry of articles about the king now that he has gone back to Siriraj Hospital. (Has he come out yet? If he has, PPT has missed it.)

One of these articles was in the UK edition of the International Business Times. It begins: “It’s hard to overstate the importance of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand who, at age 86, has been readmitted to hospital in Bangkok for a medical check-up.” Of course, the palace and the governments of Thailand have been overstating the case for decades.

It continues: “He’s the world’s longest-serving monarch and perhaps the most revered, hailed as a near-deity in politically turbulent Thailand. His portrait hangs on government buildings, on roadside billboards, in taxis and in living rooms and politicians often seem in competition with each other to proclaim their love for him.” There’s the required “revered” statement, and no questioning of why people in Thailand should behave like this.

When the king dies, PPT reckons the response will be North Korean-like. Succession there was reasonably well-ordered, although the new lad did eventually have to have his uncle bumped off. The report worries about a disorderly succession: “But concerns about who will succeed him after he dies, or abdicates, from his 64-year reign have become the central issue in Thailand’s ongoing political drama, which has seen instability and political unrest rock the country for a decade.”

While the report states that it is “not yet clear who will succeed Bhumibol…”, this is misleading. As the report later adds, it is clear who succeeds to the throne. It is legally sanctioned that it will be the crown prince. What the report means to do is to point to the secessionist argument that looks for signs that the succession will be troubled or contested. It recounts things that have been known about the prince for many years. [Opens a PDF of a Far Eastern Economic Review article from 1988.]

The claim that the “king could also choose not to name an heir before his death,” is a red herring for he has already named his heir, as promulgated in the Royal Gazette decades ago, but this claim allows for the construction of a case for the Privy Council possibly intervening. Such an intervention would be illegal and would be a rebellion unless the prince refuses the throne (note that illegalities seldom bother the royalist elite).

The report then claims that “[a]ctivists and academics are discussing proposals for a different solution – dissolving the monarchy in Thailand altogether.” This is interesting and it must be clandestine or involving people outside Thailand, much as the situation was in the 1970s – see here and here, where clicking the link opens PDFs that may be suspect under the military junta in Thailand.

The monarchy’s and palace’s political meddling and the backlash has seen what might have been a little discussed or debated succession move onto the public stage. If the whole thing goes belly-up for the palace, historians will conclude that its own political stupidity was its undoing.


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9 12 2018
What happened to that palace “crisis”? | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] Earlier, PPT wrote that dmitted that Wikileaks, the 2006 coup, the role the palace played in that, the royalist opposition to electoral representation, the infamous birthday video, and the rise of the successionist line in blogs and on social media have changed the way most of the world thinks about Thailand’s monarchy. […]

9 12 2018
What happened to that palace “crisis”? | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] Earlier, PPT wrote that it had to be admitted that Wikileaks, the 2006 coup, the role the palace played in that, the royalist opposition to electoral representation, the infamous birthday video, and the rise of the successionist line in blogs and on social media have changed the way most of the world thinks about Thailand’s monarchy. […]