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.
|Title of host publication||Governance and Democracy in the Asia-Pacific|
|Editors||Stephen McCarthy and Mark R. Thompson|
|Place of Publication||London|
|Publication status||Published - 2020|