A new king and the new Constitution

A vacancy of the throne for a week is not a thing that has ever happened before in the constitutional rule in Thailand. Bhumibol was elected as King on the same day that the brother of his, Ananda Mahidol, Rama VIII, was found dead in his bedroom on June 9, 1946.

Ananda’s inauguration as King was the same as on the day that his predecessor had abdicated the reigns – even though the King was only a boy of ten and was living abroad at the time.

Mom Sangwal Mahidol Na Ayudhya, along with Princess Galyani Vadhana as well as Prince Ananda Mahidol and Prince Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1929.

“The King is dead. Long live the King.’

In the wake of Bhumibol’s passing In the wake of his death, the Premier Minister of Thailand, General Prayuth Chan-Ocha, declared live on television, “The King has died. Long live the King”. This formula is unusual for Thailand and is a direct reinterpretation of that of the Western concept of two bodies of the King. It was established in the middle of the Middle Ages to consolidate the monarchy’s legitimacy.

If Prayuth Chan-Ocha employed this anachronistic phrase to describe the situation, it was because it was necessary to prove that Crown Prince Vajiralongkorn would be able to ascend to the throne under the name of Rama X. Prayuth was trying to dispel any notion of the possibility that the Crown Prince might be excluded from this succession procedure.

A constitutional crisis

Succession appeared to be in control. However, when Prayuth was given an audience with Vajiralongkorn and Vajiralongkorn, the latter was unable to accept the title of King, insisting that the King needed time. This resulted in a vacancy in power and created the President of the Privy Council, Prem Tinsulanonda, an automatic regent.

Regents are the representatives of the King in the event of his absence or incapacitation, and all the royal powers are ruled through the regent. In the past, however, in the history of Thailand, there’s never been a regent who wasn’t the monarch. Particularly striking in the current scenario is Prem’s distrust of Vajiralongkorn, which is well-known.

The confusion surrounding Vajiralongkorn’s ascension is a sign of a further erosion of the importance of law in a nation that has repeatedly been in violation of its rules and revoked many of its constitutions during coups supported by the monarchy.

Since the demise of absolute rule in Thailand in 1932, There have been 13 successful coups of Egypt along with 20 Constitutions. A constitution typically is valid for 4.5 years, and there’s one coup every 6.5 years.

Royal constitutional duties

We often forget that, even in a constitutional monarchy, there are plenty of obligations that a king has under the Constitution, including the act of ratifying legislation being one of the most evident.

With duties comes constitutional powers. Most are contained within the Constitution, for example, the right to veto legislation, but there are also more conventional “rights,” such as the right to consult in order to promote and be a warning. This formula was developed in the work of Walter Bagehot in his seminal work, published in 1867. the English Constitution.

Thai legal experts, like Bowornsak Uwanno, employed Bowornsak Uwanno’s English principle and effectively applied it in the Thai monarchy. King Bhumibol and his cronies extensively utilized these traditional powers to the extent that the King was able to create his crisis powers through various political maneuvers that were less controversial as compared to others.

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