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Today is Constitution Day in Thailand. What does the day commemorate?

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Today is Constitution Day in Thailand. What does the day commemorate? | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Democracy Monument in Bangkok
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Today is Constitution Day in Thailand, bang in the middle of calls for a rewrite of the document and demands for the role of the Thai monarch to be codified in a new Thai Constitution. The day commemorates 20 different Thai Charters that have been scrapped and re-written since the Siamese Revolution in 1932. It’s a public holiday around Thailand. But what the day commemorate?

The Thai people refer to their country as “Mueang Thai” (land of the free) but foreigners were historically accustomed to call Thailand “Siam”. The role of the monarch is also a tradition in Thailand that goes back centuries. The earliest Thai kingdoms of note were the Kingdom of Sukhothai, founded in 1238 AD, and the later Kingdom called “Ayutthaya,” which lasted from the 1300’s until it was razed by the Burmese in 1767 (something the Thais have NEVER forgotten).

But modern Thailand started with the Chakri Dynasty in 1782 with a capital on the swampy banks of the Chao Phraya River. The first king was Rama I. King Maha Vachiralongkorn is Rama X, the tenth Thai King of the Chakri Dynasty, who ascended the Thai throne in a lavish coronation in May 2019.

During the 1920s, Thailand was going through economic and political upheaval, much like the rest of the world. Then in 1932 the Army, police, and Bangkok’s ‘elite’ approached the King Prajadhipok Rama VII to demand he cede some of his powers. The King, 39 years of age at the time, refused, but on December 10, 1932, he accepted his fate to serve as a monarch with his powers greatly reduced. But his position as Thailand’s King was protected in the new constitution and all constitutions to follow.

Following a bloodless coup, the constitution of 1932, as well as later constitutions, theoretically limited the power of the Thai monarch and placed the power in the hands of the people’s elected representatives in government.

Since December 10, 1932, there have been 20 constitutions (or charters) written for Thailand. The monarchy has endured through each of the rewrites. But it was during the reign of the Rama 9, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, ruling from 1946 to 2016, that put an enduring stamp on the Thai monarchy, and clawing back some of the high regard the Thai monarch lost in the years before the 1932 Siamese Revolution.

During King Bhumibol’s reign the palace, occasionally, stepped across the grey line into the muddy swamp of Thai politics. It was also during his reign that the practice of prostrating in front of the King was re-introduced, abolished back in 1868 by Rama V, King Chulalongkorn. During King Bhumibol’s reign the Palace ran an effective charm offensive to reinvigorate Thailand’s enthusiasm for their monarch and followed the personable King in his travels and captured his work with his subjects in photos and coverage in Thai media.

The current monarch Rama X has quietly wrested back some of the powers of Thailand’s King in a series of edicts that transferred the wealth of the Palace coffers into his name and took over direct control of 2 battalions of the Thai Army.

A brass plaque, commemorating the Siamese Revolution of 1932 in Sanam Luang, the public space and parade grounds for the Grand Palace next door, was mysteriously removed in 2017 and replaced with one bearing “royalist” inscriptions. An attempt to re-install a copy of the original plaque in September 2020 by members of the Free Youth movement – the student-led anti-government protest movement – was also removed in the evening after it was installed.

So Thailand’s annual holiday, Constitution Day, on December 10 each year, has a long and controversial history that stretches back to 1932. It is an official public holiday and all Thai public offices are closed. This year it has formed the start of a 4 day long weekend.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 11:32 am

    What Constitution – the Thailand dictators have banned it.

    • The Thaiger

      The Thaiger

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 11:57 am

      That is incorrect. The Thai constitution has not been “banned”.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 1:05 pm

        OK, ignored the parts that interfere with their dictatorship.

    • Avatar

      Ernie

      Thursday, December 10, 2020 at 12:43 pm

      Not banned it just not recognising it, Thailand’s prime minister and his cabinet breached the constitution by failing to recite the full oath of allegiance when they were sworn in before the king .Because an incomplete oath could mean that all of the government’s actions could be seen as unconstitutional.

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Thailand’s emergency decree extended again

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Thailand’s emergency decree extended again | The Thaiger
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Thailand’s nationwide Emergency Decree has been extended again, this time until the end of February. The decree gives the Thai government the ability to set policies and procedures to prevent the control the spread of Covid-19… things like restricting travel, setting up road checkpoints and introducing other restrictions without having to consult the parliament.

All the latest articles about Thailand’s Covid-19 situation are on one page HERE.

Government spokesperson Anucha Burapachaisri says it is just an extension of the decree that is currently in place that was initially set to end on January 15. The extension, adding on another 45 days, was proposed by the Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration and approved by the Thai Cabinet this week.

The initial emergency decree was enacted in March last year and has been extended ever since.

The number of local Covid-19 infections has spiked since the outbreak at the Samut Sakhon seafood market last month, spreading to 55 of Thailand’s 77 provinces. The ‘second wave’ has stemmed from a cluster of migrant workers in the nation’s seafood industry and markets in the Gulf of Thailand coastal province, as well as cluster of infections focussed on illegal gambling dens, principally in the eastern coastal provinces and Bangkok.

Here’s a video about the new Mor Chana app which you will probably be required to use if you are travelling around Thailand at this time…

SOURCE: Pattaya News

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Politics

YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint

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YouTube blocks music video with pro-democracy protest footage after legal complaint | The Thaiger
PHOTO: R.A.D.

A music video by a pro-democracy movement band was blocked on YouTube in Thailand due to a legal complaint from the government, according to the message posted on the video’s page.

The band Rap Against Dictatorship, also known as RAD, made a post on their Facebook fan page saying that the music video for their song “Reform” was blocked on YouTube.

“Happy New Year everyone. Our new music video has been blocked. This is obviously the ‘New Year Gift’ from the government.”

The band members are active in the pro-democracy movement and 2 of them are currently facing criminal charges relating to a protest in July.

The song conveys a definition of the word ‘reform’ in the Thai language and mentions the current problems in Thailand, including politics, social inequality and the right of protesters to seek justice.

The music video had footage from recent protests in Bangkok including clips from rallies in October and November where water cannons were deployed, some spraying tear gas on pro-democracy protesters.

The music video was first released in about mid-November and reached over 300,000 views on YouTube within 9 hours. It now has over 9 million views. The band was told that the music video is against the law without any other explanations from YouTube or government agencies.

RAD made a reputation with its previous work “Prathet Ku Mi” (“Which is My Country”) released last year and it went viral across the country. The group was also recognised one of the three winners of the 2019 Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent that was presented in 2019 at the Oslo Freedom Forum.

SOURCE: Facebook|Prachathai English

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Multiple challenges to Thai PM’s leadership have failed

Maya Taylor

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Multiple challenges to Thai PM’s leadership have failed | The Thaiger
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Some compare him to Teflon for his ability to survive all manner of allegations, because the legal challenges keep coming and PM Prayut Chan-o-cha keeps winning. The Thai PM has now survived 3 legal challenges to his leadership, not to mention the countless calls for his resignation that were a hallmark of the recent pro-democracy protests. It’s probably safe to say he’s not going anywhere for a while.

The first challenge to the PM’s leadership came in September of last year, when he fought off an ombudsman ruling that he had not recited the full oath of office while being sworn in the previous July. In that case, the Constitutional Court ruled that it didn’t have the authority to make a call on the matter.

About a week later, the court had to rule on whether or not the PM could be considered a state official while in the role of chief of the National Council for Peace and Order. Opposition parties argued that the PM was a state official while head of the NCPO, meaning he was not entitled to hold the position of PM after last year’s election. However, the court found that as the NCPO had seized power in a 2014 coup, the position of its chief was not under state command, therefore he could not be considered a state official.

The third challenge came last month, when the Constitutional Court again found in the PM’s favour, acquitting him of charges that he was illegally occupying a military residence. The opposition had accused the PM of a conflict of interest by living in the property after he had retired from the army. The court ruled that the PM was permitted to remain in the property under a 2005 army regulation, which permits retired army generals to stay living in military residences if they continue to serve the country well. The PM has lived at the army property since becoming army chief in 2010.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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