The Democrat party, what the reds call “the king’s party”, says that this is not a battle over royal succession nor is it a case of the army, courts and bureaucracy defending the old order. Instead, on their view, it is about the “abuse of parliamentary power, majoritarianism and corruption”, in the words of a former finance minister and Democrat politician, Korn Chatikavanij.
They have a point. The government must confront corruption, stop treating the state as its cash till — and instead use its electoral mandate for the good of the country.
But the idea that majoritarianism lies at the heart of the mess in Thailand is silly. Majoritarianism typically involves an elected government that captures the courts, silences media critics and tinkers with the constitution to perpetuate its rule. In Thailand the opposite is true: the courts, the media, the bureaucracy, and the universities are extensions of the old Thai establishment, with the palace at its centre. The king’s advisers on the Privy Council are powerful. They oversee military appointments and then use their appointees to bless coups. After the coup in 2006 a military government abolished the constitution, which the advisers felt had made Mr Thaksin’s power unassailable. In its place they put a charter that gives the courts tremendous powers, making it possible for them to remove the head of an elected government on the slightest of technicalities.
BP: Couldn’t agree more. BP has long argued against this we have a tyranny of majority or parliamentary dictatorship argument* – see here and here. What the real situation in Thailand now is that the minority want to maintain the control that they have had for decades and aren’t willing to give it up. If anything, Suthep wants to have a tyranny of the minority (call them a minority as electorally they are).
*Of course, they won’t apply this argument to the Senate…..