In a SPIEGEL interview, Sukhumbhand Paribatra, the governor of Bangkok and a cousin of the king, condemns former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra and criticizes the Thai Army. He says he is deeply concerned about the state of Thailand and the future of the monarchy.
A few quotes :
SPIEGEL: At some point, the king will no longer be there. Will Thailand then slip into chaos when he dies? Are you afraid of that?
Sukhumbhand: Of course I am afraid. I was not afraid before. But now, after a few years of political polarization, I think that this political polarization will become even more violent.
SPIEGEL: The king is 81 now. Normally, on his birthday he reads a speech to the nation each year. But last year was the first time he didn’t read it himself. That might indicate that he is ill. Is there reason to worry and are you afraid?
Sukhumbhand: Everybody worries about the king. Even if he goes for a checkup, people panic. Yes, of course we are worried.
SPIEGEL: Is he seriously ill?
Sukhumbhand: Let me formulate it this way: He’s not doing as well as he was 10 years ago.
PIEGEL: You are a cousin of the king. So you know the royal court’s rules very well. How is the successor to the king actually selected?
Sukhumbhand: There are generally two possibilities. The king can pick his own a successor …
SPIEGEL: … which King Bhumibol Adulyadej has not done yet …
Sukhumbhand: As far as we know. If that hasn’t happened, then a successor must be found according to the palace law of 1926. But that is subject to approval by the parliament.
SPIEGEL: So his son, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn, or one of his daughters would become the successor?
Sukhumbhand: No, the palace law doesn’t permit a female successor to the throne.
SPIEGEL: So the only choice would be Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn?
Sukhumbhand: That we know of, yes.
That’s the proof that not only westerners are thinking about the succession issue… However, I don’t understand when he says “the palace law doesn’t permit a female successor to the throne.“ I thought Princess Sirindhorn had the status of princess royal. She could take the throne.
If my thai readers could enlight us on this issue.
Her title in Thai is the female equivalent of the title held by her brother, Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn