[Full statement] The demonstration at Thammasat proposes monarchy reform

The organizer of the demonstration at Thammasat University read their first declaration. It proposes that the monarchy should be reformed in line with democratic principles. The perception toward the monarchy should not be exaggerated.

Panusaya Sithijirawattanakul, the Student Union of Thailand spokesperson read the first declaration at the Thammasat demonstration on 10 August.

The demonstration was held on 10 August. The proposal toward the monarchy reform has been made even more objectively after the first speech about the monarchy role and deep-rooted Thai political problems by Anon Nampa, a human rights lawyer in a demonstration on 3 August.

Beside the monarchy issue, other demonstrators also gave speeches about other problem such as labor rights, gender equality and political crisis.

Anon Nampa calls for monarchy reform and open criticism of the crown

United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration

Declaration No. 1

To the people:

Since the People’s Party fomented a revolutionary transformation, the people have hoped that our country would be a democracy with the king as head of state who is truly above politics. But it has not been as such as the king has exercised power to intervene in politics from above. For example, whenever a coup topples a government that has arisen from a real democratic process, the king has signed to appoint the head of the junta. This constitutes the endorsement of each and every coup as legal.

Moreover, the king has moved troops and also transferred a significant amount of the national budget to belong to the himself personally. He has exercised extralegal royal authority to amend the constitution, which had already passed a referendum, to allow him to reside outside the kingdom without having to appoint a regent.

This could be done because the dictatorship government bowed down under the shadow of the king and continues to claim the monarchy for its own benefit. It can be seen that they mutually benefit. Such a situation constitutes an enemy to the principles of a democracy with the king as head of state. There is no democratic country in which such actions take place.

The people ought to know that the king of our country is not above politics. This has consistently been the root of political problems. He has neglected his duties of being the head of state that binds him to the hearts of the people and uses the people’s taxes to seek pleasure and reside outside the country. This takes place while the people are experiencing hardship from economic downturn. He also has close relationships with the rebels who foment coups to topple democratic rule.

It is therefore evident that if there are no adjustments made for the monarchy to co-exist with the institutions of the people, the people will necessarily lose faith in the monarchy.

The United Front of Thammasat and Demonstration therefore makes the following demands in order to resolve the problems with the monarchy:

1. Revoke Article 6 of the 2017 Constitution that does not allow anyone to make any accusation against the king. And add an article to allow parliament to examine the wrongdoing of the king, as had been stipulated in the constitution promulgated by the People’s Party.

2. Revoke Article 112 of the Criminal Code, as well as allowing the people to exercise freedom of expression about the monarchy and giving an amnesty to all those prosecuted for criticizing the monarchy.

3. Revoke the Crown Property Act of 2018 and make a clear division between the assets of the king under the control of the Ministry of Finance and his personal assets.

4. Reduce the amount of the national budget allocated to the king to be in line with the economic conditions of the country.

5. Abolish the Royal Offices. Units with a clear duty, for example, the Royal Security Command, should be transferred and placed under other agencies. Unnecessary units, such as the Privy Council, should be disbanded.

6. Cease all giving and receiving of donations by royal charity funds in order for the all of the assets of the monarchy to be auditable.

7. Cease the exercise of royal prerogative over expression of political opinions in public.

8. Cease all public relations and education that excessively and one-sidedly glorify the monarchy.

9. Search for the facts about the murder of those who criticized or had some kind of relation with the monarchy.

10. The king must not endorse any further coups.

These demands are not a proposal to topple the monarchy. They are a good-faith proposal made for the monarchy to be able to continue to be esteemed by the people within a democracy.

Therefore, for the monarchy to be secure in the present-day world, it must not hold power related to politics. It should be able to be controlled, audited, and criticized and it should not be a burden on the people. Then it will be able to be held as the monarchy that is dignified in line with a universal meaning of democracy.