Walsh, John, “Vampire Wars in Thailand: Behind the Scenes Conflict for Control of Unelected Institutions,” paper to be presented at the 5th ICGBE (First Hotel, Bangkok: Feb 1st-2nd, 2014).
This is the first of the papers our SIU team will be presenting at the ICGBE at the beginning of next month (ifrnd.org).
Since the imposition of the 2007 constitution, forced through by a military junta under conditions of martial law, Thai politics has switched from being enacted in parliament by democratically-elected representatives to those empowered by the charter. Establishment elites, from various backgrounds and representing various constituencies, have acknowledged that they cannot win a free and fair election, as demonstrated by their proxies in the Democrat Party refusing to contest the 2006 and 2013 elections. Instead, they produced a constitution that removed a great deal of power for parliament and awarded it instead to a variety of public sector organisations which are unelected and essentially unaccountable. The struggle for power has moved from parliament to the behind the scenes committee offices about which it is very difficult to find evidence and understanding, not least because those agencies designated with the ‘Royal’ prefix, in one way or another, are almost wholly shielded from the appropriate level of public scrutiny. The result is that Thailand’s politics resembles the presentations of secret wars among vampire overlords – we can see the blood-drained corpses left abandoned by these powers behind the scenes but we have (or are supposed to have) no idea what has really happened or why. This paper sheds some light on these shadowy events and aims to make some contribution towards turning the vampires to dust.
John Walsh, Shinawatra University