Thailand’s elephant in the room and how it may affect any deal
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Thailand’s elephant in the room and how it may affect any deal

Succession is the elephant in the room that won’t go away – see herehereherehere, and here for posts on this issue in previous years. It is not an issue that the speakers are raising as much as the PAD did in 2006 and 2008, but it is an issue behind the scenes. For the current political crisis (current as in since late October 2013 onwards), BP has blogged on this issue briefly – see here, here, and here.

Jonathan Head for the BBC:

There is one other crucial element in this bitter conflict, the issue of the royal succession. 

BP: Jonathan has more in the article…. Then in a tweet:

BP: The issue of succession has been raised in many other articles although not all of them are easy to link too. However, you may say, “so, how does that matter?”. The other day BP outlined four scenarios:

Scenario 1: Yingluck is not impeached/removed from office and continues in office until new elections

Scenario 2: Yingluck takes leave as PM and one of the Deputy PMs is Acting PM

Scenario 3: Appointed PM but by agreement between Thaksin and Suthep’s backers, Yingluck resigns and we get an Appointed PM.

Scenario 4: Remove Yingluck through judicial/independent organization coup and get Appointed PM.

As commented in that post:

Thaksin and those aligned with him obviously want Scenario 1 or a variation of it. Suthep and his backers want Scenario 4 or a variation of it. Scenario 1 will only happen if the Establishment completely acquiesces which is very unlikely. The Establishment can make Scenario 4 happen if they want, but Scenario 4 raises the stakes so high.

Indeed, the process is important. You can’t just try to do this after Yingluck’s removal. BP thinks the reds could accept Scenario 2, but not Scenario 3. Why many reds and those who support Thaksin may see Scenario 2 as far from ideal, but it is not the full removal of Yingluck as PM and not the appointment of a neutral PM under Section 7 which will undertake reforms.

So what will happen? Unfortunately, all signs show we are heading for Scenario 4…

BP: If Scenario 4 happens part of the reason is that some are worried about not being in control when something happens. If Yingluck is removed and we get a new Appointed PM, one thing expected is that the rules over succession will be rewritten and/or they are in power to influence the issue when something happens. Many in the establishment are concerned over influence they will lose when something happens, but just think about it. This also applies to people on the other side of the equation. Influence they are likely to gain will evaporate if changes are made. We are talking about multiple people here. Do you think these people will sit idly by if it their likely increased influence and likely positions are taken away from them? This is a factor that complicates any deal because it is not just Thaksin on his own. There are many others involved whose positions and influence is at stake.  Until these issues are settled to the satisfaction of both sides of that equation, we are likely to see political conflict regardless of what others want…