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monarchylosangeles

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http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5361512.stm

 

I fear what implications this may have for HM and the Royal Family. As seen in recent months, the love and affection the Thai people have for their King is immense. I do hope the military are not foolish enough to threaten His Majesty's safety, security and position.


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PinoyMonk

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I just read about this too.  If you read other articles, you'll see that the military is loyal to the King but refuses to submit to the Prime Minister:

Thailand's military launches coup against prime minister while he's in New York

ASSOCIATED PRESS
10:11 a.m. September 19, 2006

BANGKOK, Thailand – The Thai military launched a coup against Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Tuesday night, circling his offices with tanks, seizing control of TV stations and declaring a provisional authority pledging loyalty to the king.

An announcement on Thai television declared that a “Council of Administrative Reform” with King Bhumibol Adulyadej as head of state had seized power in Bangkok and nearby provinces without any resistance.

“The armed forces commander and the national police commander have successfully taken over Bangkok and the surrounding area in order to maintain peace and order. There has been no struggle,” the announcement said. “We ask for the cooperation of the public and ask your pardon for the inconvenience.”

Thaksin, who has faced calls to step down amid allegations of corruption and abuse of power, was in New York at the U.N. General Assembly, and he declared a state of emergency via a government-owned TV station.

At least 14 tanks surrounded Government House, Thaksin's office. A convoy of four tanks rigged with loudspeakers and sirens rolled through a busy commercial district of Bangkok, warning people to get off the street for their own safety.

An army general, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation, said army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sondhi Boonyaratkalin had used the military to take over power from the prime minister.

He said the military arrested Deputy Prime Minister Chitchai Wannasathit and Defense Minister Thammarak Isaragura na Ayuthaya – two Thaksin loyalists – and that Chitchai agreed to resign.

In a vain attempt to stave off the coup, Thaksin in his state-of-emergency declaration from New York had ordered Sondhi to report to Chitchai immediately, effectively dismissing him.

The coup went largely unnoticed in Thailand's popular tourist districts, where foreigners packed bars and cabarets, oblivious to the activity about two miles away. But word raced among street vendors hawking T-shirts, who packed up their carts quickly and started heading home.

In Washington, the State Department said it had seen the various reports from Thailand.

“We are monitoring developments closely, but the situation at the moment is unclear,” Kenneth Bailes, a spokesman, said.

“We look to the Thai people to resolve their political differences in a peaceful manner and in accord with the principles of democracy and the rule of law,” Bailes said.

The coup came a day before a major rally – the first in several months – was scheduled to take place in Bangkok by a anti-Thaksin coalition that has been seeking his resignation.

Massive rallies earlier this year forced Thaksin to dissolve Parliament and call an election in April, three years ahead of schedule. The poll was boycotted by opposition parties and later annulled by Thailand's top courts, leaving the country without a working legislature.

Thaksin's Thai Rak Thai Party twice won landslide election victories, in 2001 and 2005 and had been expected to win the next vote on Oct. 15, bolstered by its widespread support in the country's rural areas.

In March, Sondhi sought to ease speculation that the military might join the political fray, as it last did in 1992 and more than a dozen other times during earlier crises.

“The army will not get involved in the political conflict. Political troubles should be resolved by politicians,” Sondhi said at the time, echoing comments of other top military officials. “Military coups are a thing of the past.”

Thaksin, who had been scheduled to address the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday night, switched his speech to Tuesday at 7 p.m. EDT.

On Monday, Thaksin had said he may step down as leader of Thailand after the upcoming elections but would remain at the helm of his party, despite calls for him to give up the post.

In Bangkok, several hundred soldiers were deployed at government installations and major intersections, according to an Associated Press reporter.

Army-owned TV channel 5 interrupted regular broadcasts with patriotic music and showed pictures of the king. At least some radio and television stations monitored in Bangkok suspended programming.

The cable television station of the Nation newspaper reported that tanks were parked at the Rachadamnoen Road and royal plaza close to the royal palace and government offices.

“The prime minister with the approval of the cabinet declares serious emergency law in Bangkok from now on” Thaksin said by television from New York. He said he was ordering the transfer of the nation's army chief to work in the prime minister's office, effectively suspending him from his military duties.

Thaksin's critics want to jettison his policies promoting privatization, free trade agreements and CEO-style administration.

Opposition to Thaksin gained momentum in January when his family announced it had sold its controlling stake in telecommunications company Shin Corp. to Singapore's state-owned Temasek Holdings for a tax-free $1.9 billion. Critics allege the sale involved insider trading and complain a key national asset is now in foreign hands.

Thaksin also has been accused of stifling the media and mishandling a Muslim insurgency in southern Thailand that flared under his rule.

In Thailand's mostly Muslim south, separatist insurgents have waged a bloody campaign that has left at least 1,700 dead, mostly civilians, since 2004. Citizens there have complained of rights abuses by soldiers and discrimination by the country's Buddhist majority.

Bhumibol, a 78-year-old constitutional monarch with limited powers, has used his high prestige to pressure opposing parties to compromise during political crises. He is credited with helping keep Thailand more stable than many of its Southeast Asian neighbors.

He is the world's longest-serving monarch, celebrated his 60th year on the throne with lavish festivities in mid-June that were attended by royalty from around the world.

Many Thais had been counting on him to pull the country through its current political crisis, which has left it with no functioning legislature and only a caretaker government after the inconclusive election.

Bhumibol was born in Cambridge, Mass. He became the ninth king of Thailand's Chakri dynasty on June 9, 1946, succeeding his older brother, Ananda, killed by an unexplained shooting.

Since then, the beloved king has reigned through a score of governments, democratic and dictatorial. He has taken an especially active role in rural development.

In 1992, demonstrators against a military strongman were gunned down before the king stepped in to end the fighting and usher in a period of stability.



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monarchylosangeles

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinoyMonk
I just read about this too.  If you read other articles, you'll see that the military is loyal to the King but refuses to submit to the Prime Minister:

 

Yes, but one wonders just how genuine this loyalty is. If HM intervenes, as he has in past political crisis, and asks and/or commands the military to stand down and re-instate PM Shinawatra I'm left wondering if the military will be obedient and comply. Let us all pray for a speedy and peaceful resolution!


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PinoyMonk

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I know a number of Thais.  The vast majority would give their lives for the King.  Even if a few of these soldiers do not fit into that category, I'd be willing to bet that the greater percentage of the troops will stand down when called to do so.

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BaronVonServers

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Best I recall, the 'come to the throne' call from His Majesty was all that it took to bring the feuding sides together.  Let us pray that such intervention, if warranted, will again be utilized and effective.

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monarchylosangeles

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Amen!
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pauljluk

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Quote:
Originally Posted by PinoyMonk
I just read about this too.  If you read other articles, you'll see that the military is loyal to the King but refuses to submit to the Prime Minister

That's a contradiction in terms. As long as the Prime Minister holds office by the authority of the King, deposing the PM is disloyalty to the King.
PinoyMonk

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As far as I'm concerned, this is the same type of logic as the traditional Catholics being "disobedient" to the bishops, the Pope, etc.  For greater good, you have to overcome some other...difficulties.  I'm not here to debate Catholicism, but I immediately saw a parallel of sorts.

The main point is that we have a different logic at considering both situations.  For the greater good of the people of the Kingdom, the military feels justified in overthrowing the Prime Minister.  I hope that everyone can see this.  Of course, the soldiers are not doing this out of a pure malice.

Pinoy Monk


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BaronVonServers

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Quote:
Originally Posted by pauljluk
Quote:
Originally Posted by PinoyMonk
I just read about this too.  If you read other articles, you'll see that the military is loyal to the King but refuses to submit to the Prime Minister

That's a contradiction in terms. As long as the Prime Minister holds office by the authority of the King, deposing the PM is disloyalty to the King.


If I recall correctly, that is pretty much the line the King took last time:  The Prime Minister had been disloyal by abuse of position (corruption) and the Generals were disloyal by coup.  He called them both in, and fired them both.  Then called for fresh elections.  I'd not be surprised to see the same again.  This King (Umpire) may have to eject multiple players from the field.

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monarchylosangeles

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His Majesty has repordedly given His backing to the leaders of the coup. Once this story fully unfolds it will be interesting to note how significant a role, if any, the King played in the run-up to the coup.

 

Who says a constitutional monarch need be toothless?!

 

God Save the King!

 

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/asia-pacific/5365362.stm


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hubertgaston

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A fast analysis of my correspondent in Kampuchea:

 

"If one must summarize quickly:

- Thaksin is very popular in certain provinces (those of north and the center) since it set up measurements very demagogues for the layers the least easy of the population;

- Thaksin is hated in the provinces of the South for its very brutal management of the Moslem insurrection launched by some bunches, insurrection which take importance;

- Thaksin is hated in Bangkok, where more educated people realize that its mode is most corrupted which exists and that essentially its government is composed racketeers... for example Thaksin carried out one more been worth enormous by reselling the holding of communication held by its family with the state of Singapore. Over this fact it gains the elections primarily, but faced many demonstrations in Bangkok.

 

The King asks Thaksin to resign what it does while preserving the title of "temporary" Prime Minister jusqu has the organization of new elections. More than the political opposition, this is the Council of the King who conducts the campaign against Thaksin, with like principal asset the general Sonthy, Head of Etat major.

 

Thaksin recently decided to push back the behaviour of the elections, thus disavowing its word towards King Thaksin manufactures a false attempted murder on its person, and tries to benefit from it to replace certain tops graded by its partisans.

 

You could see the reaction of the army which seized the power in the name of the King (the soldiers carry all of the yellow arm-bands, and the tanks raise the royal flag).

 

Us that makes us dream in Kampuchea, except that our army is royal only by the name, and its command is not even "national for him"... With more "

dutchy

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I only wish more countries were so loyal and devoted to their monarchs as the Thai's are. The army is very patriotic to their king, and if this 'crisis' is to be resolved in a good way the strength of his most royal magesty will be needed indefinately.
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BaronVonServers

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It looks as if this might have been at the Kings request, the PM having failed to govern (remember the election re-tries?)....

, a well-known social critic, said, "Without his involvement, the coup would have been impossible." Sulak added that the King is "very skilful. He never becomes obviously involved. If this coup goes wrong, Sonthi will get the blame, but whatever happens, the King will only get praise."[78]

The Bangkok correspondent of The Australian, Peter Alford, wrote: "The King’s overriding commitment has always been to social stability… and by December last year, he had clearly lost any faith in Thaksin’s capacity to govern without wedging the country apart… All Prem need do is refrain from criticising the coup… for almost all Thais to believe they know the King's will."[79]




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Rosa

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On the Daily Show (I think) they were making fun of this coup. The PM was at the UN conferance when it happened, so whoever planned it out is very smart.

 

Whether the support is genuine or not, I think we'll soon find out.People can be cruel,treacherous, and those who want power often do not stop at a level.It's just too tempting to have all of it!!!


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An analysis from the left leaning "Independent":

 

Link

Royalty and revolution: The absolute monarch

Thailand's coup was organised by the army, but it would never have succeeded without the support of a king whose power is unquestioned. Justin Huggler reports on an eccentric ruler

Published: 25 September 2006

Today, most of Thailand will be wearing an identical costume: a bright yellow T-shirt with a collar and an elaborate crest emblazoned on the chest. They do this every Monday: an entire country puts on what has become an unofficial national uniform, completely voluntarily. The lurid costume would not be considered flattering by Western tastes, but it is not a fashion statement. It is a statement of loyalty to Thailand's king.

The T-shirts were given out free earlier this year to mark the 60th anniversary of the accession to the throne of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. He was born on a Monday, and so intense is Thailand's devotion to him that the whole country has now taken to wearing them, without fail, every Monday. Some Thais have gone even further: they have managed to get their hands on several identical T-shirts, so they can wear them every day.

Last week's military coup has thrust King Bhumibol, the world's longest reigning monarch, back into the political spotlight after he endorsed the group of senior generals who have seized power. On Wednesday, the day after the coup, a large crowd of Thais gathered next to the tanks which had taken up position outside government buildings. At first it looked as if they were there to protest, and soldiers were eyeing them warily. But then the royal motorcade came into view, and it became clear why the people were there. They had not come to demonstrate against the sudden overthrow of democracy: they had come to try to catch a glimpse of the King as he drove by.

It was far longer than a British royal motorcade, or that of a US president. To the onlookers' disappointment, the police said the Crown Prince and not the King was inside the old cream-coloured Rolls-Royce which looked somewhat out of place amid the ultra-modern skyscrapers of Bangkok.

It was followed by an extraordinary number of Mercedes and BMWs, all in royal red with a crest on the side, that seemed to be there for no other reason than to swell the procession. The motorcade must have added up to £1m worth of cars. Traffic was stopped by police so it could pass. People stood respectfully to attention in the streets.

It was a glimpse of the power and mystique of King Bhumibol. Even though he is a constitutional monarch, with almost no official powers, the events of the last week have shown that he is still the real power in Thailand.

The televised ceremony in which he endorsed the coup leader, General Sondhi Boonyaratglin, was another insight into his grip on the country. Bhumibol did not even have to turn up. Instead, General Sondhi, in full ceremonial regalia, knelt and prostrated himself before a picture of the King.

No one has suggested this implies the King was not wholeheartedly behind it. That is just the way they do things here.

This is a king who plays jazz saxophone to relax, and used to give concerts to his people. He has played live with the late jazz musician Benny Goodman, who said that if he weren't a king he'd give him a place in his band. Bhumibol holds the patents to several agricultural inventions, and is said to drive himself around Bangkok secretly at night to see how his people live. But at the same time, he commands such devotion that Thais do not dare look him in the eye: they address the dust beneath his feet.

Bhumibol wrote a biography of his favourite pet dog, Thong Daeng, when she died. You can imagine a British royal doing the same - what's harder to imagine is Prince Charles writing the sort of social parable Bhumibol's book was. "Tongdaeng is a respectful dog with proper manners; she is humble and knows protocol," he wrote. "She would always sit lower than the King; even when he pulls her up to embrace her, Tongdaeng would lower herself down on the floor, her ears in a respectful drooping position, as if she would say, 'I don't dare'."

Most Thais say the one thing that made them accept last week's coup was Bhumibol's endorsement. Almost the first thing you see at Bangkok airport is a sign saying "We love our King", and people say the same thing on the streets. Almost all of those we interviewed this week, whether they supported the coup or not, said they backed the King.

On the other hand, of course, it is illegal to say anything else. Thailand is one of very few countries in the world that still enforces lèse-majesté laws. Say anything remotely critical of the King or the royal family, and it could land you a lengthy prison sentence. And there are Thai social activists who can testify from their own bitter experience that those laws are enforced.

When an American journalist, Paul Handley, published an unauthorised biography of Bhumibol, The King Never Smiles, earlier this year, the Thai government banned it and blocked its page on the Yale University Press's website. But then, it also banned an earlier biography by William Stevenson, who was granted hundreds of hours to interview Bhumibol, and who says it was the King who suggested he write the book in the first place. Thai newspapers were told they weren't even to mention Stevenson's book in print.

All the same, there is no doubt that Bhumibol's immense popularity among Thais is genuine. Nobody makes them wear those yellow T-shirts. And there are many Thais, respected university professors among them, who will tell you they would die for their king. So it was no surprise that the generals who seized power last week were so eager to stress that they had the King's backing. They even ordered Thai newspapers to refer to their junta as the "Council for Democratic Reform under the Constitutional Monarchy".

But that is where it gets tricky. Because Bhumibol is widely considered, both in Thailand and internationally, as the man who has safeguarded and overseen the country's transition to democracy. When he came to the throne at the age of 18, the generals who were then running the country told him to keep his mouth shut. He outlasted them and, at several critical moments since, intervened in attempted coups on the side of democracy. Western newspapers have eulogised him for it.

Yet last week he personally endorsed a coup that overturned 15 years of stable democracy, and turned his country - the West's key ally in the region - back into a military dictatorship.

"There are two schools of thought," said one Thai observer who preferred not to be named in view of the strict laws of the country. "One is that the King has backed the coup for sake of stability. The other is that he is a part of this coup. Personally, I tend to the former."

There was no love lost between Bhumibol and the deposed Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra. As one Western observer put it, the coup was "the culmination of months of shadow boxing between the palace and the Prime Minister".

Whatever his true feelings about the coup, Bhumibol has always trod a more subtle path than outright backing for democracy, and preserving the monarchy has always been as much of a priority as democracy. As a younger brother, he never expected to accede to the throne, and inherited it in 1946 under dramatic circumstances that have never been fully explained, when his brother, King Ananda Mahidol, was found dead in his bedroom, with a gunshot wound to the head. Bhumibol was studying in Switzerland at the time, and because of his youth, his uncle was appointed regent.

The young man had not inherited a throne with the immense influence he wields today. The Thai monarchy had been weakened through long years of military dictatorship under Field Marshal Pibulsonggram, and the generals made it clear to the young king who was in charge. "When I opened my mouth, they'd say, 'Your Majesty, you don't know anything'," he has recalled. "So I shut my mouth. I know things, but I shut my mouth." So Bhumibol threw himself into another role, devoting hours to agricultural research and national development, and beginning to build the immense popularity he enjoys today.

In 1957 he got his chance. When a rival general moved against Field Marshal Pibulsonggram, the young King advised the dictator to resign to avoid a coup. Pibulsonggram refused, and his rival seized power, endorsed by Bhumibol. The country was still a military dictatorship, but Bhumibol had made the monarchy count again.

In 1973, he asserted himself dramatically. There had been massive protests and the army had killed many student demonstrators. Bhumibol opened the gates of his palace to the fleeing students and gave them sanctuary. It was a decisive moment that overturned the military dictatorship.

But in 1976, Bhumibol went the other way, as the military seized power again. The army went into the universities and massacred hundreds of students, but Bhumibol sided with the military. Analysts believe he may have done so because of the advance of communism across south-east Asia, which had just wiped out the royal family in Laos.

In 1992, Bhumibol played a decisive role in the country's peaceful transition to democracy. There was considerable violence after the military had been called in to quell popular protests. Neither side would back down and the situation was critical. Bhumibol summoned both the military leader of the time, and the leader of the democracy movement, to his palace. Forcing both to kneel and prostrate themselves before him in a televised audience, he scolded them in front of the nation. It was the end of the crisis, and Thailand became a peaceful democracy - until last week, when Bhumibol appears unexpectedly to have backed the military. As recently as April he refused to intervene in the burgeoning crisis, after opponents of Mr Thaksin boycotted a general election and asked the King to appoint an alternative prime minister.

Now he has intervened, though whether his hand was forced by events is not clear. What the long-term effects will be remain to be seen. Earlier this year, the King of Nepal saw his throne stripped of nearly all its powers after his ill-fated attempt to seize back power for himself. Bhumibol is far more popular on a personal level in Thailand than King Gyanendra was in Nepal, but reverence for the institution of monarchy was similar.

At the age of 78, celebrating his 60th year on the throne, Bhumibol is back in the thick of Thai politics.

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