German politician raises questions about the status of Thailand’s Head of State

German politicians have raised questions in parliament about the status of Thailand’s Head of State as a part time resident in the state of Bavaria, after protests in Thailand have continued to make international news, drawing attention to Thailand and the Thai government’s fragile political situation.

Frithjof Schmidt, from Germany’s Green Party, has questioned the German Foreign Ministry about its position towards the protests in Thailand as well as possible EU economic sanctions against Thailand’s current government, which has drawn attention in the German parliament and the EU, including a previous boycott and cessation of some trade following the military coup in 2014.

Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Green Party

The European Union some time ago suspended negotiations on a free trade agreement with Thailand because of the junta’s behaviour. Following the announcement of elections, negotiations were resumed in order to promote this process of return to democracy.

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Are you prepared to work now in this situation in the European Council to freeze these negotiations again as long as the junta continues to block the path to democracy in Thailand?

Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas

I do indeed think that this is an option that we are keeping open within the European Union. I think it is right to have a dialogue on this once again with the Thai side. We also have the opportunity because, as I believe, there is a great Thai interest in an agreement to this end, which is used as a means of exerting pressure.

The MP also alluded to the occasional presence of Thailand’s Head of State as a resident in Bavaria.

A history of freezing inter-government contracts has not been regarded as making any difference in the way Thailand’s government operates as free trade talks resumed even after Thailand returned to a ‘democracy’ in the 2019 general election, which saw the country remain under quasi-military rule with allegations of human rights violations and freedom of speech still being made by opposition groups.

And some direct quotes in the question time regarding Thailand’s monarch…

Dr Frithjof Schmidt, Green Party

“I have one more inquiry. The Thai king stays often and for a long time in Germany; he owns a villa here. That is in order. But he also conducts direct politics from Germany. Among other things, he has publicly banned his sister from running as the leading candidate for the main opposition party.

Why has the Federal Government tolerated for months this extremely unusual and, in my opinion, illegal behaviour by a foreign head of state to conduct politics from German soil?”

Foreign Minister, Heiko Maas

“We have made it clear that policy affecting the country of Thailand does not have to be taken from German soil. Also, I believe that there are many bizarre reports on what is taking place. But it is not in line with the view of the German Federal Government that – and this is different from what we had with Mr Navalny – guests in our country carry out their state business from here; we would always like to counteract this clearly.”

SOURCE: Prachatai

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