The role of the King has been evolved throughout the history of Thailand. At the beginning of the nation, the King was perceived as a “father” of the Thai people. The paternal relationship had later been replaced with the demigod image. It was a result of the mixing cultures between Indian Hindu and Khmer Buddhism. So many decades, it was believed that the King enjoyed this demigod status under the absolute monarchy. With reference to a number of revolutions occurred to the European monarchs, it was suggested that Thailand turned to constitutional monarchy. The new regime would offer a better chance for the rule of law in Thailand. It was predicted that the King’s power could no longer be unlimited. It was therefore not surprising that the absolute monarchy was replaced by constitutional monarchy. The replacement officially marked Thailand as a country with democracy and modern constitution in 1932.
What is more surprising is that the new democratic regime has not seemed to deliver much chance for the rule of law. With so many military and civil interruptions, the King was repeatedly asked to take action or to deal with the problem. The question then arises as to how the King can be involved in the process. This is particularly so where his role is limited by the regime of constitutional monarchy. Whatever his action or inaction is, it would definitely have impacted the rule of law in Thailand. The study illustrates how fascinating the rule of law has been conceived with the application from the “palace”. The emphasis is placed on King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great or King Rama IX who is the world’s longest - serving current head of state and the longest-serving monarch in Thai history.
Date of this Version
Pornsakol Panikabutara Coorey, "King’s Influence on the Rule of Law in Thailand" (August 2010). University of New South Wales Faculty of Law Research Series 2010. Working Paper 30.