It’s eighty eight years since the revolution in Thailand which was the end of the absolute monarchy and the start of democracy. But it’s the army and the Royal palace which today define much of Thai politics.
The King by law has few direct powers, but he is very influential. The Prime minister is elected but many Thai’s question the democratic process. Prime Minister Prayut Cha-o-cha took over last year after five years of military rule. He’s the former army general who led the last military coup in 2014. It was the twelfth coup since the end of the absolute monarchy.
The military’s control on society alarms pro-democracy activists. Protesters in Bangkok have defied the ban on mass gatherings because of coronavirus. They fought briefly with police as they rallied, all to commemorate the events of 1932.
Watch an in-depth discussion on the future of democracy in Thailand On Al Jazeera’s Inside Story.
Presenter: Peter Dobbie. Guests: Pravit Rojanaphruk – Political Analyst & Columnist at Khaosod English.com news website; Pavin Chachavalpongpun, Co-founder of FORSEA & Associate Professor at Kyoto University in Japan; and Dominic Faulder, Associate Editor of the financial newspaper, Nikkei Asian Review.
Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect FORSEA’s editorial stance.