Rolling back democracy from its birth II

14 12 2021

On the ironies of Constitution Day, PPT recommends consideration of an op-ed by Tim Newton at Thaiger. He begins with the report of Chuan Leekpai’s recent words on that day:

Words from the Thai Parliamentary president Chuan Leekpai urging, or willing, the Thai voters not to “become disheartened with the current state of Thai politics” and to have “confidence in the democratic system”.

From noom apicha

He rightly asks: “The democratic system?”

While some of the historical background is a bit scratchy, his observation that Chuan “must be secretly choking on the irony of his comments” is, we think, ignoring the way that people like Chuan buy into the whole palace propaganda version of Thai history. But Newton is right that “Thailand’s current constitution remains a blunt tool to keep the country’s military interests and a Bangkok ‘elite’ in power.” Chuan is part of that elite. Newton is too kind to Chuan, who also played a role in bringing on the 2014 coup.

The op-ed continues:

Whilst saying all the right things on a public holiday set aside to commemorate Thailand’s first constitutions, Chuan doesn’t need to look further than his parliament’s upper house of hand-picked Senators to realise that any true democracy in the Land of Smiles remains elusive.

Like the senators, the man who appointed them is unelected. He also trashed the previous constitution in an illegal coup and seized the premiership, which he continues to hold thanks to the senate, the military and the elite.


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