Substantive reform

30 09 2020

Building on years of struggle by other activists and exiles, the great success of the student-led movement has been in initiating a discussion on the monarchy. A couple of recent reports highlight this.

Rangsiman Rome is no longer a student, but he was one of those students who stood up to the junta after the 2014 coup. Those demonstrating now draw inspiration from the opposition Move Forward MP.

Thai PBS reports he has proposed a “new deal” between “the people and the monarchy” to make Thailand becomes a “real democratic constitutional monarchy.” This, he says, requires “a new Constitution, written by an elected charter drafting assembly.”

In speaking of the monarchy, he’s observed: “What’s happening does not benefit ordinary people. They know these things would not happen if the monarchy was truly constitutional…”.

He wants “public scrutiny” of the monarchy with it being “supervised by an elected government body, like any other organisation under the Constitution.” He wants the people to be soverign and the monarchy to “stand … alongside democracy…”.

During his speech, conservative, royalist junta party MPs sought to silence him, to no avail.

Debate is also on the agenda outside parliament. Prachatai reports about a panel discussion on 15 September at the Faculty of Sociology and Anthropology, Thammasat University titled: “If politics were good, how would we discuss the monarchy”?

The report observes that “[a]ddressing the issue of the monarchy straightforwardly is a very rare sight in this country, especially after the 2014 coup when prosecution of critics of the monarchy intensified.”

Read the report of the discussion and marvel at how far the students have moved Thailand’s politics.



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