Politics and the monarchy

15 03 2023

Politicians usually reflect the society that produces them. In aggregate, they reflect the good, the bad, and the middling of that society, it prejudices and its foibles.

As an election seems ever more likely, various parties are grappling with how best to garner votes, and the rightists seek advantage from their “protection” of and “reverence” for the monarchy. Aging and apparently senile Trairong Suwannakhiri has lobbed up on the United Thai Nation Party (Ruam Thai Sang Chart Party) side, supporting Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha, and he recently decided to use the “good people” cliche of the dead king.

In a campaign speech:

Trairong told Korat locals that King Rama IX once said Thais should elect “good people”’ to govern them. He added that there’s no one better than jolly old “Uncle Tu” – PM Prayut’s nickname.

Having breached the sacred [sic.] issues, the party chief then blundered straight on into embarrassment.

Trairong told his shocked gathering that if they wanted a good government in line with the late King Rama IX’s words, they should vote for “Thai Rak Thai.”

That’s what happens with old men…. And, of course, there’s a long “tradition” of Democrat Party royalists – in this case, a recently defected Democrat – using the king for political benefit and for promoting the monarchy and its political preferences.

After various complaints were made against Trairong for doing what comes easily for Democrats, the Bangkok Post reports the Election Commission “warned the leader of the United Thai Nation Party (UTN), Pirapan Salirathavi­bhaga, over alleged comments made by a key party member about the monarchy.”

It widened the warning to all parties. Given that Trairong was the “offender,” it does seem somewhat odd that a general warning is issued.

Of course, EC secretary-general Sawang Boonmee is a junta-appointed puppet, so he is apparently seeking to diminish Trairong’s “offense.”

Somchai Srisutthiyakorn, a former election commissioner, “slammed the EC secretary-general for just issuing a warning to the UTN leader over Mr Trairong’s conduct…. He insisted that the issue is not considered over because Mr Trairong’s conduct could result in a party dissolution under Section 92(2) of the political party law.”

He believes there are only two options for the EC: “accept or reject the petition.” In this case it has done something else.

All a bit silly, perhaps, when it is considered that the monarchy has been central to so much politics since 1945.



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