Governance and the Rule of Law: Reflections on Tensions in Thailand

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    Thailand has seen considerable progress in the rule of law over the last decade. The 1997 Constitution is seen by many as a watershed event in Thai constitutional history. Yet ongoing political instability suggests that political actors have not yet adopted the rule of law as a binding principle. Why has the rule of law been persistently weak in Thailand? What is likely to happen with the rule of law, and with governance, in the future? The basic argument advanced here is that rule of law principles must contend with major challenges because the traditional Thai trinity of nation, religion, and king have become an inviolable state ideology. Political actors aligned with the monarchy have used each element of the trinity to undermine both rule of law principles and democratic institutions. Exploring the contemporary situation through the tension between the traditional trinity and the rule of law, this paper seeks both to illuminate current battles over the meaning of the rule of law and to evaluate the chances that the rule of law can ultimately become the basis for resolving political contestation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationGovernance and Democracy in the Asia-Pacific
    Editors Stephen McCarthy and Mark R. Thompson
    Place of PublicationLondon
    ISBN (Print)9781315866765
    Publication statusPublished - 2020


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