See More on Facebook

Politics

Judges rule unanimously to dissolve Thai Raksa Chart.

Judges said the party’s decision to run the princess was a ‘threat to monarchy’.


Written by

Updated: March 8, 2019

The Constitutional Court yesterday disbanded the Thai Raksa Chart Party for nominating a member of the Royal Family, Princess Ubolratana, as its candidate for prime minister, ruling that such a move “might undermine” the Thai constitutional monarchy system, which placed the monarchy above politics.

The court ruled unanimously to dissolve the party under Article 92 of the 2017 Constitution and voted 6-3 to ban the party’s executive members from politics for 10 years while also barring them from setting up a new political party.

Princess Ubolratana, the elder sister of His Majesty the King, who has relinquished her royal status since 1972, had accepted Thai Raksa Chart Party’s invitation to be its lone candidate for prime minister.

The charter court, however, ruled that Ubolratana remained a royal at functions involving the monarchy since the reign of her father, the late King Rama IX.

Thai Raksa Chart, a major ally of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, had argued that it had proposed the name of the prime minister candidate with her consent in accordance with the current constitution.

However the Election Commission (EC) revoked her nomination on February 8, the same day her application was submitted, after HM the King issued a royal command pointing to her royal status. The EC later petitioned the charter court to dissolve the party, accusing it of undermining the so-called “democratic regime with the monarch as the head of state”.

While the military-sponsored 2017 Constitution has no clear clause prohibiting members of the Royal Family from entering politics, the nine charter court judges referred to the tradition and norm since the 1932 revolution to bar persons at the level of Royal Highness in the royal hierarchy from taking part in elections.

The amendment of the principle during the reign of King Rama VIII in 1946 did not change the spirit of the norm in subsequent constitutions, judge Nakarin Mektrairat said.

The 1932 revolution paved the way for Thailand’s change from an absolute monarchy to constitutional monarchy and gave special status to the monarchy institution, placing it above politics, said Nakarin, a former scholar who wrote a book on the 1932 revolution.

The monarchy has traditionally reigned, but not ruled, over the Kingdom and acted as the revered institution in Thai governance for a long time. The Royal Family’s entry in politics would take away the neutrality of the monarchy, the judge said.

The Royal Family must not be brought to become a part of any political faction so that the monarchy can remain at the centre of the heart of the nation, he said.

Thai Raksa Chart, set up on November 7, is only four months old. Though the party had obtained the rights and freedom granted by the Thai constitution, exercising that right must be based on an awareness that it will not destroy Thai norms and values,” said Nakarin, and added such actions should not consequently pose any threat to the regime.

As the party’s political decision to nominate a Royal Family member for prime minister could be deemed a threat to the constitutional monarchy system, the court ruled to ban its executive members from politics for 10 years, rather than impose a life ban as widely expected.

The dissolution of the party also raises questions about the legality of its candidates contesting the March 24 election. The party has fielded candidates in 175 constituencies and 108 in the party list. These candidates might be disqualified for not being members of a political party for more than 90 days before polling day, as required by the law.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Nation (Thailand)
About the Author: The Nation is a broadsheet, English-language daily newspaper founded in 1971 and published in Bangkok, Thailand.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Politics

No sign of concrete policies for conflict in Thailand’s restive south

Parties offer few if any answers for a 15-year-old deadly insurgency that successive govts have failed to quell. Peace and conflict have never been significant parts of any political party platform in Thailand. This is because a sustainable solution calls for long-term commitment to a policy that could prove to be politically costly. Lasting peace requires self-reflection on the part of both the state and society. Policymakers have to rethink the policy of assimilation that has so far been rejected by the Malay Muslim populace of the southern border provinces because it comes at the expense of their cultural and religious identity. Full-fledged armed insurgency erupted in the far South in the 1960s, some 50 years after the signing of the Anglo-Siam Treaty that defined our current political borders. There was a brief calm in the 1990s, but the absence of violence did not mean peace. A new generat


By The Nation (Thailand)
March 22, 2019

Politics

How competing masculinities inform Pak-India escalation

Devaluing the other in gender hierarchies often takes place through feminisation. Last month, tensions reigned high between neighbouring nuclear powers that share an ugly history of separation and bellicosity. Once more, India and Pakistan seemed to be at the brink of war. Airports were shut down, the Line of Control was violated, and de-escalation — especially in the newfound absence of dedicated third-party intervention — looked out of bounds for the most part. War-mongering through media outlets prevailed while fake and selective news circulated in this situation of crisis. Yet, it is baffling — if also not amusing — that even in such delicate moments, rhetoric of ‘putting them in their place’ was omnipresent on both sides. Similarly, a few months ago, when Prime Minister Imran Khan tweeted his disappointment regarding peace talks with India, he chastised that he ha


By Dawn
March 21, 2019

Politics

Rahul tears into PM Modi over job losses, calls PM a ‘joke’

The country’s unemployment rate was reportedly at a 45-year-high of 6.1 per cent in 2017-18. Turning up the heat on Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the reported high rate of unemployment and job losses in the country, Congress party president Rahul Gandhi, on Wednesday, alleged that Modi’s policies “destroyed” thousands of jobs in 2018 alone and that “India’s PM is a joke”. Seeking to turn the focus back on the issue of lack of jobs and employment opportunities for the country’s youths, Gandhi tagged a fresh media report which, quoting the National Sample Survey Office (NSSO) data, stated that for the first time since 1993-94, the actual size of India’s male workforce has shrunk. The  NSSO report is based on the Periodic Labour Force Survey (PLFS) which was conducted between July 2017 and June 2018 ~ the Modi government has not officially released the report so far. According


By The Statesman
March 21, 2019

Politics

Thais wont mobilize in protest even if junta wins elections.

Thailand’s ersatz elections will not bother most Thais even if army comes back to rule. Every country has their breaking point, where corruption, abuse and living standards reach a point where people are compelled to take to the streets and demand a change. Thailand’s breaking point appears to be much higher than most. After all, a decade of political infighting, street riots, and military crackdowns has made mass protest much less palatable for the common Thai. Despite this, the military seem to be doing their utmost to push the populace to their limit. Reports from early and overseas voters tell of an election deeply flawed with spoiled ballots, discounted votes and confusing polling procedures. Some votes have been disregarded altogether, including those that voted for the Thai Raksa Chat Party who was disqualified by the Election Commission for running a princess to be p


By Cod Satrusayang
March 20, 2019

Politics

Is Kim Jong-un considering ‘new way’?

Post Hanoi summit failure, speculation grows on what new mode of defense may be. Following the failure to reach an agreement at last month’s summit between the US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi, tension has been building between the two sides, threatening the negotiations that they have built over the past year. While the breakdown of their second meeting did not lead to a war of words, North Korea said it was considering suspending talks with the United States, while Washington accused Pyongyang of “not doing what it needs to do.” The communist leader warned in his New Year’s speech this year he would have to find a new way for defending the North if the US did not keep its promises. As the US appears to have no intention of taking the “commensurate measures” the North seeks for the denuclearization steps it has taken, speculation has grown as to whether


By The Korea Herald
March 20, 2019

Politics

Malaysia detains 13 suspected militants

Six of them were involved in the Marawi siege in the Philippines. Thirteen suspected militants, including six pro-Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) members allegedly involved in the deadly Marawi siege in southern Philippines, have been detained by Malaysian authorities. Malaysia’s national police chief Mohamad Fuzi Harun said 12 Filipinos and a Malaysian were arrested on March 11 and 12 by police’s Counter Terrorism Division, with the help of Special Branch, Sabah police and elite multi-tasking special forces unit 69 Commando. “They were detained for their suspected involvement in several terror groups… either the ASG, Maute combatants or the Royal Sulu Force (RSF),” he said in a statement on Monday (March 18). “Some of them were also involved in giving protection to foreign terrorist fighters who are hiding in Sabah.” The first arrests, the Inspector-Genera


By The Straits Times
March 19, 2019