Talking king things

14 09 2020

In a piece of (what we think is) good news, The Nation reports that Padipat Suntiphada, a Move Forward MP and chair of the House Committee on Political Development, Mass Communications and Public Participation has agreed to a “safe” dialogue on the demands made by protesters. This includes discussion of reform of the monarchy.

The dialogue is scheduled for 22 September and is “aimed to provide an intimidation-free ‘safe zone’ for the students to share their opinions on reform…”.

Self-crowned

After decades of an enforced void on serious discussion of the monarchy, punctuated only by ridiculous royalism, this is a welcome opening.

It is reported that he discussion will include the 10 Demands on:

… reform of the monarchy.  It seeks to, among other things, scrap the lese-majeste law, defund the royal family and bar the palace from expressing political opinions.

(In fact, there’s no demand to “defund the royal family.” Rather, the demand is “reduce the amount of the national budget allocated to the King in line with the economic conditions of the country.”)

Rightist royalists will be very uncomfortable and some will become belligerent.

The article states that this will be:

the first time ever that monarchy reform is raised in Parliament and comes after protest leaders broke a decades-long taboo by challenging the palace’s status in public during protests in Bangkok early last month.

In the past, when the monarchy has been discussed, parliament has usually gone into secret session.

Padipat “said the forum will be a two-way dialogue between proponents and opponents of royal reform and other issues” in a “framework was designed by the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University.”

The regime has been seeking to silence student discussion of the monarchy. including arresting many it considers protest leaders. Its “youth forums” have tried to limit discussion to “curriculum improvement, environmental issues and job opportunities for students. The core demands made by protesters are not being discussed.”

Padipat says he “hoped this panel’s forum would lead to another level of discussion in Parliament and has plans to hold more forums in other regions.” That, too, would be a huge step forward over the enforced adulation of the past.


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