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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2783

Coup in Thailand usually endorsed by Thai King

By K.T.Rajasingham

Thailand continues to be held hostage by the power hungry military generals, who time and again toppled the elected governments with impunity. Almost always the generals played the "King’s card" skillfully after staging the coup and seizing power. King Bhumibol Adulyadej: On numerous of occasion has endorsed the coup, thus giving a legitimacy to the treasonable acts of the Army Generals.King Bhumibol Adulyadej: On numerous of occasion has endorsed the coup, thus giving a legitimacy to the treasonable acts of the Army Generals. It was always the Army Generals’ way “ Power derived from the barrel of the gun “ on many occasions without a shot being fired.

The reign of current King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which began in 1946 and has been the longest in the royal history, ushered in an era of unprecedented political turmoil and unrest from the very day of becoming the King of Thailand.

The Thai King Bhumibol Adulyadej of the Chakri dynasty, known as King Rama IX has presided over more than 20 prime ministers and 16 constitutions. Under his rule alone 18 coups including the one of 19 September have so far being staged in the country since 1946.

With the tacit approval of the Thai King, military coup leader Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has seized power and taken control of Thailand on 19 September, dismissed the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and revoked the constitution.

BBC announced yesterday that the King has given his tacit approval for the Tuesday’s coup. The Armed forces took control of all the strategic places at t time when Prime Minister Thaksin Sinawatra was away in New York attending the UN General Assembly sessions.

Telecasting pictures of Thaksin Shinawatra arrival in UK, BBC also announced that the military has threatened to put him on trial.

It is now learnt that the King of Thailand's endorsement of the coup and the change of government, has legitimized the seizure of power by the Army General and to dictate the destiny of the country.

The word Thai means "Freedom", but it is a country though never colonized by any western countries, but continues to suffer at the hands of crazy army generals who move to seize power always received the royal endorsements, thus encouraging the coup makers time and again to interfere with the independents of the Thai people.

The Kingdom of Thailand is a country in the Southeast Asia bordering Laos and Cambodia to the east, the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia to the South and the Andaman Sea and Burma (Myanmar) to the West. Thailand was previously known as Siam which was the country’s official name until 11 May 1949.Telecasting pictures of Thaksin Shinawatra arrival in UK, BBC also announced that the military has threatened to put him on trial.Telecasting pictures of Thaksin Shinawatra arrival in UK, BBC also announced that the military has threatened to put him on trial.

In the early 1930s a group of young intellectuals who were not satisfied with the absolute rule of King Prajadhipok, the last absolute monarch Rama VII (1925 - 1934) staged a bloodless coup.

Luang Pradit Manudharm (Pridi Banomyong) along with young Army officials seized hold of the government on 04th May 1932, when the King was on holiday in at his Hua-Hin seaside resort. At the head of the military that time was the German trained Colonel Bahol Pholpayuhasena.

After seizing the control of the country, King was invited to come back and rule the country as a constitutional monarch. On 10 December 1932 the King approved the constitution for the dawn of parliamentary democracy, for the very first time in the country.

Despite the number of successive constitutions that followed in the span of just over half-a-century, the basic concepts of constitutional government and monarchy laid down in the 1932 constitution has remained unaltered.

On 2nd March 1934 King Rama VII abdicated after a dispute over a piece of legislation to be enacted in the parliament. At that time he was in England for treatment to his eye and died their in 1941.

Parliament and the Government then elected Prince Ananda Mahidol, son of Prince Songkhal, a boy nine years old as the eighth monarch of the Chakri dynasty. During that time the young king was still a student at Lausanne in Switzerland. He came home to visit the country in 1946. When the young monarch was about to return to Europe, he was found shot dead in his bed on 9th June 1946.

The mystery of his death was never satisfactorily solved. Still suspicion continues to loom about a role played by many, even by those in the royal family.

However, his brother Bhumibol Adulyadej succeeded him as Rama IX and is still ruling the country.

The reign of current King Bhumibol Adulyadej, which started in 1946 and has been the longest in royal history, ushered in an era of unprecedented political turbulent from the very day of ascending the throne of Thailand.With the tacit approval of the Thai King,   military coup leader Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has seized power and taken control of Thailand on 19 September, dismissed the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and revoked the constitution.With the tacit approval of the Thai King, military coup leader Thai Army Commander-in-Chief Gen. Sonthi Boonyaratkalin has seized power and taken control of Thailand on 19 September, dismissed the Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, and revoked the constitution.

As indicated earlier, King Bhumibol Adulyadej has presided over more than 18 coups including the one that has taken place on 19th September. Many of them had been legitimized subsequently by giving his endorsement.

Chronology of coups in Thailand

December 1938 : Military leader Luang Phibun Songkram became prime minister.

June 9, 1946: King Rama VIII dies under mysterious circumstances, and his brother Bhumibol Adulyadej assumes the throne.

November 8, 1947 : Another coup leader to Phibun’s returned to power, ushering in a new period of military rule that lasted until 1973.

1971: Field Marshal Thanom Kittikachorn returned to power and abolished the constitution and dissolved the parliament

October 14, 1973: Some 400,000 student-led uprising to oust the "Three Tyrants" - Thanom, his son Col. Narong Kittikachorn and his father-in-law Field Marshal Praphas Charusathien - who ruled Thailand for much of the 1960s and early 1970s. A brief period of democracy ensued.

Oct. 6, 1976: A bloody crackdown on student protests ended with at least 46 student protesters, who were demonstrating against the return of Thanom to Thailand, were killed and hundreds more injured by the police and army. A coup installed a new military-guided right-wing government.

March 1980: Moderate military ruler General Prem Tinsulanond survived several coup attempts and administered the country with some popular participation.

July 1988: General Chatichai Choonhavan won the general election, and the country entered a miraculous economic boom with double-digit growth.

February 1991: General Sunthorn Kongsompong - Supreme Commander of Thai Armed Foerces and General Suchinda Kraprayoon - Army Commander staged a coup and toppled Chatichai's civilian government. He sets up a junta, the so-called National Peace Keeping Council to govern.

May 1992: Thousands of pro-democracy protesters filled the streets of Bangkok demanding a return to civilian rule. Dozens were killed after junta member General Suchinda Kraprayoon assumed the prime minister's post without contesting the March 22 elections.

The king summoned the generals and pro-democracy leaders to the palace, admonishes them and asked them to reconcile. The killings stopped and Suchinda agreed to resign.

Though there was no instances of Thai King coming forward publicly to arbitrate in times of crisis, however it was only during a popular uprising in May 1992 he chastised both the military and protest leaders to effectively bring an end to the violence.

September 23, 1992: Democrats party leader Chuan Leekpai was voted prime minister, ending months of instability since the coup.

October 11, 1997: The king signed the country's 16th "People's Constitution" into law, in a major development for political reform and democracy.

November 6, 1997: Elected Prime Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh resigned under economic and political pressure, and Chuan Leekpai again took office on November 9.

March 4, 2000: The first Senate elections were held under the new Constitution. Due to widespread allegations of vote-buying and rigging, it took five rounds of voting and four months to fill the 200 seats.

January 6, 2001: Telecom Tycoon, a former Police Lieutenant Colonel Dr. Thaksin Shinawatra won the Parliamentary elections in a landslide to become the 23rd prime minister of Thailand.

December 26, 2004: The deadly Indian Ocean tsunami killed more than 5,300 people, about half of them foreign tourists.

January 5, 2005: Thaksin's government turned out to be the first elected civilian administration to complete a four-year term.

February 6, 2005: Thaksin's “Thai Rak Thai” party was re-elected as the country's first one-party government since the end of the absolute monarchy.

February 24, 2006: Under increasing calls for him to quit over his tax-free sale of a stake in telecom giant Shin Corp for almost 1.9 billion dollars, Thaksin dissolved parliament and called for new elections.

April 2, 2006:Voters went to the polls, with a partial count later showing Thaksin winning a majority of ballots. But his apparent victory was undermined by a strong protest vote and a boycott by the main opposition parties.

April 4, 2006: Thaksin announced he will step down after a new parliament is convened, saying he made his decision out of respect for the Thai King.

September 20, 2006: Thailand's armed forces say they have ousted Thaksin in a bloodless coup and imposed martial law.

- Asian Tribune -

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