Opposition MPs said on Monday that they remained cautious and skeptical after King Vajiralongkorn’s comments on Sunday night as the government’s actions are not in line with His Majesty’s remarks.
His Majesty King Vajiralongkorn said that Thailand was a land of compromise in a surprise ad-hoc interview granted to foreign media on Sunday night.
The King was asked by CNN and Channel 4’s Johnathan Miller what he thought of student-led protests which have at times called for a reform of the royal institution to which he replied, “We love them all the same.”
When pressed by Miller on a possible compromise between the palace and the protesters, his majesty responded, “Thailand is a land of compromise.”
While the comments were greeted with cautious optimism by members of the public and some politicians, there remains caution because the government led by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has not shown it was willing to compromise.
Taopiphop Limjittrakorn, an MP for the progressive Move Forward Party, told Thai Enquirer that he agree with His Majesty’s comments on compromise and he believes that Thailand can find a middle ground, but he does not see it being done.
Prayut said last month that the government was willing to listen to the protestors’ demands and that they are already backing down from any future confrontation by lifting the severe state of the emergency decree on October 22.
However, this weekend three student-protesters were arrested forcefully by the government resulting in the hospitalization of all three.
“I do not see it being practiced in reality, especially the way the protesters have been treated,” Taopiphop said.
“I strongly agree that Thai society can live together and compromise. But, it has to start with how the law is being wielded,”
“The society must also be more open to listen to the protestors’ demand as they are asking for reformation, not abolishment,” he added.
Rangsiman Rome, another Move Forward MP, told Thai Enquirer that the king’s comments have raised questions on the role of the institution in politics.
“This is a big issue, especially for those that want to reform the institution,” he said.
“Under the principle of the constitutional monarchy, there is one very important principle which is ‘the king can do no wrong’ because the king can do nothing,” he added.
Rome said he understood that the interview was unarranged but under the constitutional monarchy system, any political position from the monarch must be endorsed by the cabinet first.
“We cannot deny that the institution having a public opinion is very important,” he said.
“However, if the institution expresses any opinion that is disagreed by the Thai people then it could lead to a division,” he added.
Government aligned MPs and senators, however, praised the king for his comments.
Pornpetch Wichitcholchai, President of the Senate, said he was very impressed with the King’s comments on compromise because that is what the government is trying to do with the setting up of the reconciliation committee.
“I was very impressed with His Majesty’s comments to the foreign press that Thailand is a land of compromise so I am not thinking about anything else at the moment,” he said when asked about the effectiveness of the parliament’s reconciliation committee.