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06BANGKOK2425 THE KING SAYS, IT’S A MESS

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“61809″,”4/26/2006 10:55″,”06BANGKOK2425″,

 

“Embassy Bangkok”,”CONFIDENTIAL”,

“06BANGKOK1872|06BANGKOK2370|06BANGKOK2425″,

“VZCZCXRO5097

OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM

DE RUEHBK #2425/01 1161055

ZNY CCCCC ZZH

O 261055Z APR 06

FM AMEMBASSY BANGKOK

TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8144

INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS

RHEFDIA/DIA WASHDC

RHHMUNA/HQ USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHHMUNA/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI

RHFJSCC/COMMARFORPAC”,”C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 BANGKOK 002425

 

SIPDIS

 

SIPDIS

 

E.O. 12958: DECL: 04/25/2016

TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, TH

SUBJECT: THE KING SAYS, IT\’S A MESS

 

REF: A. BANGKOK 02370

B. BANGKOK 01872

 

Classified By: Charge d\’Affaires Alex A. Arvizu reason 1.4 (b) (d)

 

1. (C) SUMMARY: King Bhumibol Adulyadej yesterday gave two

of the most direct and to-the-point speeches in recent years

to the newly sworn-in judges of the Administrative and

Supreme Courts. In these speeches, the King questioned the

democratic nature of the April 2 general elections as well as

the \”correctness\” of dissolving Parliament and calling for

snap elections in the first place. He reminded the

Administrative Court that it is their job to consider these

issues, and opened the possibility of nullifying the

elections. He further asserted that invoking Article 7 of

the Constitution to have the royally-appointed Prime Minister

would be undemocratic, The King therefore called on the

courts and other institutions to work together to resolve the

current political chaos. Top justices at the three high

courts (Supreme, Administrative and Constitutional) will meet

on Friday to propose a way \”out of the woods.\” Opposition

forces are chastened by the King\’s strong rejection of their

call for him to name the next Prime Minister, but welcome

some of the criticisms of the election process. End Summary.

 

DOOR CREEPS OPEN FOR NULLIFYING THE ELECTION

——————————————–

 

2. (U) In his first speech of the night to the judges of the

Administrative Court, the King asserted that \”it is

impossible for a democratic election to have only one party

and one candidate. This is undemocratic.\” He further

questioned why no one discussed whether dissolving the

Parliament and calling for a snap election within thirty days

was the \”correct\” decision in the first place. If not, he

suggested, one would need to \”solve the problem,\” including

\”perhaps nullifying the elections.\”

 

ENOUGH WITH THE HOT POTATOES ALREADY!

————————————

 

3. (SBU) The King warned the Administrative Court that it

should not evade its responsibilities. If \”you cannot do it,

then it should be you who resign, not the government, for

failing to perform your duties.\” (Comment: The appears to be

a dig at the decisions by several courts to duck tough cases

connected to the election by saying that they lack

jurisdiction over the issues. End comment.)

 

4. (U) The King also spoke to the new members of the Supreme

Court, delivering a similar message. In both speeches the

King expressed his strong disagreement with the opposition\’s

call to invoke Article 7 of the Constitution. The King

stated that electing the new Prime Minister (PM) should be up

to Parliament. He told the Supreme Court that he disagreed

with opening the House unless all 500 MP seats are filled.

\”Now, the House of Representatives cannot function because it

does not have 500 members.\” The problem is how to make the

House work.\” He then explained that the opposition is \”wrong

to cite Article 7,\” as the \”article refers to the full effect

of the constitutional monarchy. It does not permit the king

to do whatever he wishes.\” And by doing so he would

\”overstep his mark, and do something beyond his authority.\”

And \”that\’s not democracy.\”

 

COURTS MUST WORK TOGETHER TO CLEAN UP THE MESS

——————————————— -

 

5. (U) The King stressed that the current political state is

quite a \”mess,\” and that for him to intervene would only make

it messier. He called on the three courts (Constitutional,

Administrative, and Supreme Courts) to work together to

\”urgently decide, otherwise the country would collapse.\” Top

judges of these three courts announced today that they will

meet for discussions this Friday. The Supreme Court

secretary-general said that the Supreme Court justices will

 

SIPDIS

seek common ground among themselves during a meeting on

Thursday, before submitting their joint opinion to the

combined meeting. He said that the justices intend to

provide an solution to lead the country \”out of the woods.\”

 

ONE BIG SLAP

————

 

6. (C) One Democrat party contact said, \”off the record\”

that the King\’s speech was a slap in the face to all the

 

BANGKOK 00002425 002 OF 002

 

political players. \”It\’s like the King lined us up and got

us all with one big slap,\” he said. Now each side will try

to pick out the elements in the speech favorable to its

position. For the opposition, they will appreciate the

criticism of the undemocratic nature of the elections, and

the implied criticism of the decision to dissolve Parliament

in the first place. For Thai Rak Thai, they can highlight

the rebuke to the opposition for trying to force the King to

name a new prime minister. They may also say that it was the

opposition\’s fault, with their boycott, that TRT was the

only party contesting. Regarding the question of annulling

the election, the Democrat representative said, the party was

now in a quandary. They had called for the elections to be

annulled with the idea that the King would name an interim

Prime Minister. If the elections are annulled and the King

won\’t name a PM, then it is unclear what would happen next.

He still clung to the hope that the King might yet accept the

responsibility if the meeting on Friday of the three courts\’

justices resulted in a request from them for him to do so.

The People\’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) issued a statement

saying that they would accept the King\’s view and seek

constitutional solutions to the crisis. Opposition parties

were meeting Wednesday to come up with a formal reaction to

the speech.

 

BINGO

———-

 

8. (C) Meanwhile, the Election Commission may have resolved

the quorum problem. It appears that microparty candidates

have registered for all the remaining 14 races in the South.

It is not clear whether all of them are qualified, but with

only two days until the elections, it will be difficult to

push through disqualifications. This means that these 14

seats should be filled — perhaps by these Lilliputian

opponents. This still leaves the parliament one person

short, as one of the party list candidates on the TRT list

withdrew from the race and became a monk. According to some

sources, however, the EC may argue that he is still

technically on the TRT list and that his withdrawal was not

valid. Whether he leaves the monastery to come to the

Parliament or not, they may certify his election.

 

COMMENT: ANOTHER FINE MESS YOU\’VE GOTTEN US INTO

——————————————— —

 

8. (C) The King\’s statements have tossed everything up in

the air, and it will be a few days before we see where they

come down. Press coverage has tended to focus on the King\’s

refusal to be dragged into naming a prime minister, but that

was not news to us. (ref B) His very strong statements

opening his remarks at the Administrative Court, and his

directive to the judges to come up with a solution, were more

startling. It is hard to imagine the courts really deciding

that these elections should be annulled, and even harder to

imagine exactly what would follow to fill the vacuum this

would create. TRT may try to seize on the King\’s insistence

on full quorum, which now looks like it might be achievable,

and ignore the rest of his criticisms. Unlike the

Constitutional Court however, (with its track record of

deferring to the Prime Minister), the Supreme and

Administrative Courts generally enjoy a good reputation.

With the King\’s imprimatur to find a solution, they may feel

empowered to propose a bold plan to sort out this extremely

messy situation. They have a tough job to do.

ARVIZU

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Written by thaicables

July 11, 2011 at 8:01 am

One Response

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  1. [...] PPT’s Wikileaks posts, this cable, dated 26 April 2006, refers to the king’s speeches to judges following the April 2006 election, which several opposition [...]


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