Saturday, October 15, 2016

O futuro da Tailândia

Artigo escrito ainda antes da morte do rei - The King is (nearly) dead: long live the King? 

While the yellow shirted ultra-royalists prostrated themselves, most Thais went on with their lives with only cursory notice of the anniversary.  The reality is the monarchy means less to average Thais than it did in the past for three key reasons:

First, the King has largely been out of their lives for the past five years, if not more.

Second, while journalists often phrase it as the Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn “not enjoying the same levels of support for his father,” the reality is he commands almost no respect from society.  The moral authority and legitimacy of the monarchy will plummet, and as such, so will its importance in the lives of ordinary Thais.

Third, there is growing fatigue of the political upheavals done in his name, including coups in 2006 and 2014, and the rampant abuse of the lèse majesté law and Computer Crimes Act.  In the two years following the coup, 68 people have been charged with lèse majesté (Art. 112 of the Criminal Code).  If the monarchy is as revered as Thai ultra-royalists and the military say it is, then why must it be so vigorously defended by draconian laws?  A robust monarchy could handle criticism, whether in principle or satire. (...)

First and foremost, the succession is about Thai elite politics. The May 2014 coup was thrown, in large part, in order to control the succession. Neither the military nor the ultra-monarchists could fathom the Pheu Thai under direct, or even indirect, control of ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to be in power during the transition. The political instability was simply their justification to seize power, which they show no sign of relinquishing, now in the third year of military rule.

We know there were rifts between the junta, led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, and the ultra-monarchists, led by Privy Council President Prem Tinsulanonda. Under the 1924 Palace Law, which predates the establishment of the constitutional monarchy in 1932, the 63-year-old Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn should ascend the throne as the male heir. The ultra-monarchists cannot countenance the Crown Prince be-spoiling the institution of the monarchy. Despite desperate attempts to clean up his image and make him appear more kingly, his reputation will be a hard one to whitewash. (...)

Prem probably still views the Crown Prince as an existential threat to the wealth, power and privilege of the ultra-monarchists, but their ability to orchestrate Crown Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn’s ascension to the throne is limited. (...)

The junta believes that the Crown Prince can be managed. Or to look at it another way, they truly fear what the Crown Prince is capable of should he be passed over;

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