Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cablegate: Thai queen supported coup

The Guardian has started a "you ask, we search" project for the cablegate archive, effectively crowdsourcing the task of looking for interesting stories. Today's result: the Queen of Thailand encouraged the 2006 coup against the elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra:

Queen Sirikit was indirectly "responsible for the 2006 coup d'etat", according to Samak Sundaravej, one of Thaksin's successors as prime minister from January to September 2008, according to US diplomats. Samak also claimed, the cable writers add, that Sirikit had a hand in the "ongoing turmoil generated by PAD protests", a reference to the mass protests by the royalist People's Alliance for Democracy which have contributed to the downfall of several Thaksin-associated governments since 2006.

Sirikit is the wife of King Bhumibol, the world's longest-serving current monarch. As a member of the royal family she is in theory expected to be politically neutral.

So, the Thai royal family are officially opposed to democracy. That's good to know. And it means that if democracy is to take root in Thailand in the long-term, they're going to have to either evict their monarchy or castrate it.