Updated: Constitutional Court ignores constitution II

12 09 2019

The Constitutional Court’s most recent decision places the king above the constitution. This is yet another move that moves the the monarchy away from its status as constitutional; with the monarchy now deemed to be above the constitution, it is, by definition and in law, no longer a constitutional monarchy. In Wikipedia’s basic definition:

A constitutional monarchy is a form of monarchy in which the sovereign exercises authority in accordance with a written or unwritten constitution. Constitutional monarchy differs from absolute monarchy (in which a monarch holds absolute power) in that constitutional monarchs are bound to exercise their powers and authorities within the limits prescribed within an established legal framework.

The Constitutional Court affirms that the king is not constrained by the constitution – even when he demanded and received changes to that constitution under the military junta – when it determined that: “… it lacked jurisdiction because the oath was a matter between the executive branch and the king.”

Of course, it isn’t. The constitution is clear that ministers must make a particular oath, with the words set out in the constitution. This is not a matter between the executive and king except if, like the Court, the monarch is considered above the constitution and not under it.

That King Vajiralongkorn and his palace determined the unconstitutional oath is confirmed by earlier reports. For example, the Bangkok Post recently reported that the military-backed government had warned politicians not to discuss the monarchy’s role. It determined that:

MPs will not be protected by customary parliamentary immunity during the general debate on Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s incomplete oath recital, chief government whip Wirach Ratanasate said yesterday.

Since all parties concerned want the session to be held openly [sic.] instead of behind closed doors, lawmakers should be warned they are not immune to being sued over remarks deemed to offend the monarchy, he said.

You get the picture. The king is not to be mentioned, even if he is the culprit in encouraging anti-constitutional actions.

Update: StrategyPage is not a site we know well. However, it has a story on the monarchy that has some interesting claims. It begins:

The animosity between monarchists and democrats is growing more intense. The new king, the former unpopular playboy crown prince, is turning into an unpopular king who is seeking more control over the military and more money for his increasingly (compared to his popular father) lavish lifestyle.

It goes on to claim (under an interesting heading):

Bad Royals

The military and the new king are making it more likely that the democratic opposition will eventually call for the elimination of the monarchy. This was not really possible until the current king took power and made it clear he was different. Unlike his predecessor, the new king already had an unsavory reputation as a playboy crown prince. To make matters worse the new king made a deal with the military government that would, in theory, benefit both of them in the long run. First, the former crown prince assured everyone that he would behave, after a fashion. In return, the military government freed the monarchy from constitutional and parliamentary restrictions that were part of the 1930s deal that turned the absolute monarchy into a constitutional one.



2 responses

19 09 2019
Royal teflon | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] One of the reasons that the regime is teflon coated is that the “independent agencies” have been anything but independent. Most egregiously, the Constitutional Court has made itself a power that ferociously defends the interests of the royalist ruling class. Remarkably, it now ignores the constitution when this suits those ruling interests. At least two recent decisions are sad examples of royal and royalist injustice that confounds law and constitution: the decision on Ubolratana’s foiled candidature in the March election and the recent decision to ignore the junta’s own constitutional requirements and effectively place the king above the constitution. […]

22 09 2019
The Constitutional Court’s “logic” | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] writes of the Court’s 11 September determination that “it has no authority to rule on the question of whether Prime Minister Gen Prayut […]

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