Prayuth and the prophecy

20 08 2014

Banyan at The Economist uses the ascendancy of the military dictatorship and the personal power of The Leader and dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha to resurrect an old prophecy – used in the 1970s too [clicking downloads a PDF] – about the demise of the Chakri dynasty:

The king is unwell, the crown prince unpopular and their kingdom is unquiet. An old prophecy holds that the Chakri dynasty will only last nine generations. King Bhumibol Adulyadej happens to be Rama IX. In May a coup brought to an end a series of elected governments that had been run by a clan of civilians.

The prospect of another military man temporarily in civilian garb while grabbing and holding the premiership at the head of a palace-backed, reactionary and right-wing regime prompts this apt description:

The army men in charge of the new dictatorship say their aim is to build a “Thai-style democracy”. Their intervention looks more interested in reviving a system of tutelary democracy, in which a bunch of royalist elites control the state, though the new regime denies it. Their alternative explanation, based on a notion of Thai uniqueness, seems to have been pulled out of a hat like a rabbit.

Most of the rest of the article is spent discussing the so-called China card. This involves the military’s “turn to China” [and other authoritarian regimes] as it has been criticized by some Western governments and the support to Sino-Thai capitalists by Chinese state investment.


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