With a major update: The king “votes” again I

24 03 2019

“Vote early and vote often” is a phrase used in relation to elections and the voting process that encourages corrupt electoral activity.

King Vajiralongkorn “voted” once already when he forbade his older sister and Thaksin Shinawatra’s significant other, resulting in the dissolution of yet another pro-Thaksin party. His second “vote” came last night, at 8.44 pm, 2 hours and 44 minutes after campaigning was meant to cease.

As the Bangkok Post has it:

the King had the Lord Chamberlain deliver a part of King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s message 30 years ago urging the promotion of good people to govern so they can prevent bad people from creating trouble.

It cites the dead king:

Maintaining national peace and order is … not about making everyone good; it’s about supporting good people so they can govern and prevent bad people from grabbing power and creating trouble and unrest.

According to the announcement, the king expressed hope that:

all citizens and government officials, including civil servants, the military and the police who are duty-bound to ensure national security and people’s happiness, to consider the royal message.

The announcement stated that the king

is concerned about national security and the feelings and happiness of citizens. The reference to the royal message is aimed at giving moral support and encouraging the performance of duties for the sake of unity, national security and people’s happiness. It is also a reminder of the great contributions of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and Her Majesty the Queen of King Rama IX, the announcement read.

It seems likely that this “vote” was and absentee vote as it seems the king had already left Thailand for his home in Tutzing, near Munich.

Channeling his father, this message will give great heart to the junta and its devil party, Palang Pracharath. The announcement’s message is an extended version of that party’s campaign slogan and mirrors The Dictator’s campaign message.

It may also be a response to his sister’s most recent personal political intervention.

What was that about a constitutional monarchy?

Update 1: Prachatai has a fine and brave discussion of the king’s statement and related events. It makes the point – one we neglected – that the term “good people” is “not neutral in Thai political lexicon.” Indeed, it is a terminology used by royalists and anti-democrats for several decades as a defining characteristic of “Thai-style democracy,” a royalist-inspired notion that promotes anti-democracy. It notes that in the battle with Thaksin, the “military junta and non-elected institutions have been using this word to justify their actions, and oftentimes at the expense of democracy.”

Update 2: For those interested in democracy, the Election Commission has had yet one more massive failure. Spineless EC chief Ittiporn Boonpracong supported the king’s unconstitutional intervention, saying:

I call on all Thais as well as officials to be mindful of King Rama X, who expressed his concerns about the election and choose good people to manage and move the country forward. I want everybody to exercise their voting rights while keeping the Royal announcement in mind….

In other words, vote for pro-junta parties! And this is the agency supervising the “election” and will have responsibility for dealing with perhaps hundreds of complaints. It’s pretty easy to see that the EC will do all it can to support pro-junta parties.

Update 3: It is beginning to look like the king’s announcement may have been a coordinated effort to change voting intentions with the EC boss, military brass and senior officials reinforcing the king’s “advice when electing their representative…”.

In a supposed constitutional monarchy, this kind of intervention should be unthinkable.

Army chief General Apirat Kongsompong was primed and “urged voters … to consider [the king’s]… advice, saying that following this advice will keep the country peaceful.” He clearly believes that this is a win-win intervention; he can support the king and the junta’s devil parties.

Armed forces supreme commander Gen Ponpipat Benyasri joined in, mimicking Gen Apirat, “saying the military has called on voters to elect ‘good people’ to become their MPs.” Military and monarchy! He stated: “The military adheres to the Royal advice and relevant regulations and orders…”. The orders come from the junta and Apirat.

Kanchanaburi Governor Jirakiat Phumsawat “also called on voters to consider …[the king’s] advice,” adding “I believe Kanchanaburi people will vote for ‘good people’ to run the country.”

One thing is clear in all of this unconstitutional interference: the monarchy remains deeply involved in Thailand’s politics.



2 responses

4 04 2019
Reacting to thugs | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] king’s own interventions have fanned this hatred of mild-mannered middle and upper class […]

4 04 2019
Reacting to thugs | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] king’s own interventions have fanned this hatred of mild-mannered middle and upper class […]

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