Today, yellow-shirt Royalists gather at Parliament House to pressure the government not to pass the motion for constitutional amendments.
The Ratsadon Movement wants the parliament to adopt iLaw’s proposal to amend the constitution. But the controversy over iLaw’s proposal is the amendment of Section 1 and 2 of the constitution.
Section 1: Thailand is one and indivisible Kingdom.
Section 2: Thailand adopts a democratic regime of government with the King as Head of State.
I-Law’s proposal intends to open up the discussion for the possibility of rewriting the entire constitution. In other words, the possibility of deleting a constitution born out of a military coup and a junta referendum to pave the road towards drafting a people’s constitution.
Section 1 and 2 provide the basis of Thailand’s political system. To overhaul the constitution is to first put into question the two sections. Also, amending Section 2 opens up the possibility of monarchy reform.
The desired wording is for the constitution to specify that the monarchy is under the constitution. The keyword being “under.”
The government, the senators, and Royalists are against monarchy reform. Worse even, in their minds, changing the wording of Section 1 and 2 would lead to the overthrow of the monarchy and the creation of the Thai republic.
This fear and paranoia are the results of a successful propaganda campaign by the Prayut Chan-o-cha Regime.
The 2017 Constitution was written to guarantee General Prayut and the military establishment’s staying power through the 250 junta-appointed senators and other clauses.
To amend or rewrite the constitution is to undermine that power.
But aside from the constitution, the Prayut Regime’s legitimacy in the public’s eye is the illusion that the regime is the monarchy’s defender.
By tying the government’s survival with that of the monarchy, the Prayut Regime has successfully formed the perception in the eye of Royalists that to amend or rewrite the constitution is the path to overthrow the monarchy and create the Republic of Thailand.
This perception then shapes the realities of Royalist groups in the streets to oppose constitutional amendments.
In truth, amending or rewriting the constitution only serves to create a democratic constitutional monarchy with the king as the head of state and put the military back into the barracks.