Chavalit’s Approach to the Palace

Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former PM, chair of the Phuea Thai party and veteran of many events and excursions, has outlined his explanation for seeking assistance from HM the King and, unusually, a summary (with some details) has been printed in The Nation. The argument is that HM the King is not ‘above politics’ in the way that is usually argued in public discourse because:

“Under the principles of international law, a monarch represents the country’s sovereignty. In Thailand, the monarchy is the oldest and most powerful pillar of society, while the King exercises his discretion for royal initiatives and royal rulings in accordance with royal traditions.

– During the period of modernisation, Kings Rama IV, V, VI and VII safeguarded the country’s independence in the face of colonisation. The monarchy nearly succeeded in introducing democracy but was interrupted by the 1932 revolution, resulting in an incomplete transformation into genuine democracy.

– Under Article 3 of the Constitution, the King exercises sovereign power via the Parliament, Government and Judiciary. In theory and reality, the dispensation of power is within the realm of politics. Therefore the monarchy is not above and beyond politics as understood.”

There are several other points but it always seems a bit pointless to me just copy-pasting an article the reader can find elsewhere.

What is important, irrespective of the degree to which this is an accurate summary or whether one does or does not agree, is that this argument has appeared in the right wing press, which generally suppresses any such discussion. As I mentioned elsewhere, Chavalit and Somchai’s appeal to the Palace is unlikely to be answered and, if so, it will be interesting to observe how that will be reported in the international media.