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The Privy Council of Thailand (Thai: คณะองคมนตรีไทย, khana ongkhamontri thai) is a body of appointed advisors to the Monarch of Thailand. The council, as the Constitution of Thailand stipulates, must be composed of no more than eighteen members. The council is led by the president of the Privy Council of Thailand; currently former Prime Minister, "national statesman", and Army General Prem Tinsulanonda.[1] The king alone appoints all members of the council. The council's offices are in the Privy Council Chambers, Phra Nakhon District, Bangkok.[2]

In recent years the council and its president in particular, have been accused of interfering in politics. This stems from the council's closeness to the military, in particular during the 2006 Thai coup d'état.[3] General Prem was reappointed President of the privy council by the new King Maha Vajiralongkorn on 2 December 2016.[4]

Contents

HistoryEdit

 
King Chulalongkorn, educated by Westerners, founded the first Privy Council of Siam.

The first privy council in Siam was established by a royal decree on 8 May 1874, by King Chulalongkorn (or Rama V). The king, educated by Westerners, was keen on copying the system of government of the absolute monarchs of Europe. At first he created two councils: the "Privy Council of Siam" (Thai: ที่ปฤกษาในพระองค์; RTGSthi prueksa nai phra ong) (49 members) and the "Council of State" (Thai: สภาที่ปรึกษาราชการแผ่นดิน; RTGSsapha thi prueksa ratchakan phaendin) (12 members, name later changed to "Council of Ministers" (Thai: รัฐมนตรีสภา; RTGSratthamontrisapha)). The privy council was created to deal with legislative affairs while the latter became an early version of the cabinet.

Chulalongkorn was succeeded by his son King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) in 1910, who at the beginning of his reign appointed a 40-member "Privy Council of State" (Thai: สภากรรมการองคมนตรี; RTGSsapha kammakan ongkhamontri). The king, during his 15 years on the throne, would continue to appoint new members at Thai New Year (or 4 April). When he died in 1925 the privy council was composed of 233 members.

King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) who succeeded his brother in 1925, completely overhauled the system and created instead three councils: The "Supreme Council of State of Siam" (Thai: อภิรัฐมนตรีสภา; RTGSaphiratthamontrisapha) (composed of five senior princes, equivalent to the former Council of State); The "Council of Secretaries" (Thai: เสนาบดีสภา; RTGSsenabodisapha) (former Council of Ministers); and the Privy Council of State. The role of the Privy Council was relegated to minor legislative affairs, while the Supreme Council became Prajadhipok's main body of advisors.[5]

On 24 June 1932, a group calling themselves the Khana Ratsadon (or People's Party), together with the military, seized power in Bangkok. They abolished the system of absolute monarchy, changing Siam into a parliamentary constitutional monarchy and demanding of Prajadhipok a constitution for the people of Siam. The king granted them a "temporary" constitution in the same month and a permanent one in December. The Khana Ratsadon, once in power, abolished the Supreme Council and the Privy Council. They replaced the Council of Secretaries with the People's Committee of Siam.

It was not until fifteen years later that the 1947 constitution of Siam recreated the Privy Council under King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with a name change to "Supreme Council of State" (Thai: คณะอภิรัฐมนตรี; RTGSkhana aphiratthamontri). This council existed from 1947 to 1949 and was composed of:

  • Prince Rangsit Prayurasakdi, Prince of Chainat, President of the council
  • Prince Dhani Nivat, Prince Bidyalabh Bridhyakon
  • Prince Longkorn Adireksorn Udomsakdi
  • Phraya Manovaratsevi
  • Police General Adul Adulyadejchrat

Two years later, under the 1949 Constitution of Thailand, the council was renamed the "Privy Council of Thailand" (Thai: สภาองคมนตรี; RTGSsapha ongkhamontri) or (Thai: คณะองคมนตรี; RTGSkhana ongkhamontri). The Privy Council in its current form was created by the 2007 Constitution of Thailand.

MembersEdit

The present constitution stipulated that the council is composed of no more than eighteen members. The members of the Privy Council or Privy Councillors are appointed and removed at the pleasure of the king alone, but appointments must be countersigned by the president of the Privy Council.[6]

The councillors cannot be partisan and therefore cannot be members of the House of Representatives, Senate of Thailand, Election Commission, Ombudsman, member of the National Human Rights Commission, judge of the Constitutional Court, judge of an Administrative Court, member of the National Counter Corruption Commission, member of the State Audit Commission, a government official holding a permanent position or receiving a permanent salary, an official of a state enterprise, other state official or holder of other position of member or official of a political party, and must not manifest loyalty to any political party.

After being appointed the councilors must take the following oath in the presence of the king to assume office:

"I, (name of the declarer), do solemnly declare that I will be loyal to His Majesty the King and will faithfully perform my duties in the interests of the country and of the people. I will also uphold and observe the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand in every respect."

A councillor vacates office upon death, resignation, or at royal command.

PresidentEdit

 
General Prem Tinsulanonda, President of the Privy Council.

The President of the Privy Council of Thailand is the head and chief councillor of the privy council. The king retains the power to appoint and remove the president, however the President of the National Assembly of Thailand must countersign presidential appointments and removals, unlike other councillors which the king alone decides.

FunctionsEdit

The 2007 Constitution gave the privy council many roles and powers. These are mostly associated with the issues surrounding the head of state and the monarchy. A US ambassador described its duties thus, "Statutorily they exist to offer advice to the King if he solicits it, review petitions on his behalf, act as ceremonial stand-ins for the King at various royally-sponsored ceremonies, and play a critical role in succession."[7]

RegencyEdit

If the king is incapacitated or for whatever reason and cannot appoint a regent, the privy council will submit to the National Assembly the name of a suitable individual, who must then be approved by a vote. During the period where there is no regent the President of the Privy Council shall be the regent pro tempore. This case is also applicable if the regent is incapacitated and cannot perform his duties. When this happens the President of the Privy Council shall be replaced in his duties to the council by a president pro tempore.

Palace Law of SuccessionEdit

In regards to the amendment of the 1924 Palace Law of Succession, the king must ask the privy council to draft an amendment. After the king's approval and signature, the President of the Privy Council will notify the president of the National Assembly that will then countersign such amendment.

Vacancy on the throneEdit

When the throne becomes vacant it is the duty of the privy council to submit to the cabinet and to the National Assembly the name of the successor to the throne. During this vacancy period (before the submission) the President of the Privy Council will be the regent pro tempore.

Other functionsEdit

Apart from these constitutionally mandated functions the privy councillors also perform other duties. For instance, they carry out other duties in the royal household and on royal projects. Several councillors are members of the Mahidol Foundation, while Dr. Chaovana Nasylvanta is the Director of the Crown Property Bureau. Councillors can, at royal command, attend official functions or carry out official duties on behalf of the king or the royal family.

List of presidents of the Privy CouncilEdit

President Start of term End of term Days
1   Rangsit Prayurasakdi 9 November 1947 18 Junuary 1949 1 year, 221 days
2   Dhani Nivat 18 Junuary 1949 8 September 1974 25 years, 82 days
3   Dej Snidvongs 8 September 1974 5 December 1975 1 year, 89 days
4
Sanya Dharmasakti 5 December 1975 4 September 1998 22 years, 273 days
5   Prem Tinsulanonda 4 September 1998 Present 19 years, 227 days

The Privy Council of ThailandEdit

The Privy Council of Thailand (Rama IX)Edit

# Picture Name Form Until
1   Rangsit Prayurasakdi 9 November 1947 18 Junuary 1949
2   Dhani Nivat 9 November 1947 18 Junuary 1949
3   Alongkot 9 November 1947 19 December 1952
4   Plot Wichean Na Songkha 9 November 1947 7 October 1974
5   Adul Aduldejjarus 9 November 1947 29 November 1951
6   Wiwatchai 8 April 1952 22 August 1960
7   Nakkhatra Mangala 8 April 1952 11 February 1953
8   Jit Na Songkha 8 April 1952 25 September 1976
9   Hun Huntagun 8 April 1952 27 August 1962
10   Dej Snidvongs 24 April 1953 7 October 1974
11   Sak Senanarong 14 July 1955 19 July 1955
12   Laihud Tititlanon 2 May 1957 26 March 1968
13   Srisena Sombutsiri 2 May 1957 6 July 1982
14   Gumpan Utaravanit 5 February 1960 7 October 1974
15   Thongchai Chotikasatian 7 July 1964 18 January 1986
16   Chalermlap Tavivong 24 November 1966 27 October 1970
17
Sanya Thammasak
18   Vongsanuwat Tevagul 1 November 1971 3 April 1991
19   Pragob Hutasing 26 March 1975 28 July 1995
20   Uttasit Sittisunton 26 March 1975 16 September 1998
21   Jinda Boonyakom 26 March 1975 8 November 1987
22   Chakkapanpensiri 26 March 1975 13 October 1993
23   Samran Padtayakul 19 December 1975 24 July 1986
24   Chao Na Sinwan 19 December 1975 6 December 2016
25   Tanin Kraivichien 15 December 1977 6 December 2016
26   Gun Itsarasena Na Ayuttaya 18 April 1979 12 August 1996
27   Ussani Pramoj 3 March 1984 6 December 2016
28   Gumton Sintavanon 28 November 1987 6 December 2016
29   Prem Tinsulanonda 23 August 1987 4 August 1998
30   Chulanop Sanitwong Na Ayutaya 24 December 1991 29 September 2006
31   Siddhi Savetsila 24 December 1991 5 December 2015
32   Adulkit Kittiyakon 9 April 1992 5 May 2004
33   Pichit Kullavanich 13 July 1993 6 December 2016
34   Umpon Senanarong 9 September 1994 6 December 2016
35   Jumrus Khemajaru 15 November 1994 14 May 2015
36   Tavisan Ladawan 3 October 1995 7 April 2006
37   Thep Devakul 7 August 1997 6 December 2016
(17)
Sanya Thammasak 4 September 1998 6 January 2002
38   Sakda Mokamakkul 6 January 1999 20 February 2007
39   Kasem Wannachai 18 July 2001 6 December 2016
40   Palakorn Suwanrat 18 July 2001 6 December 2016
41   Sawat Wattanayakon 18 July 2002 13 March 2012
42   Surayud Chulanon 14 November 2003 1 October 2006
43   Santi Takral 15 March 2005 29 April 2011
44   Chumpol Patjusanon 15 March 2005 6 December 2016
45   Uttanit Ditumnat 16 August 2007 6 December 2016
(42)   Surayud Chulanon 8 April 2008 6 December 2016
46   Chanchai Likitjitta 8 April 2008 6 December 2016
47   Supachai Poongam 8 April 2008 6 December 2016
48   Chalit Pukpasuk 18 May 2011 6 December 2016

The Privy Council of Thailand (Rama X)Edit

On 2 December 2016, King Maha Vajiralongkorn reappointed General Prem Tinsulanonda president of the privy council. General Prem became regent pro tempore at the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej on the 13 October 2016. After Vajiralongkorn accepted the invitation to become king he was able to appoint his own council.[8]

On 6 December 2016 the king appointed ten councillors,[9] seven from his father's council and three new members. Eight members from the previous council were not reappointed.[10] On 13 December the appointment of two more councillors was announced.[11] On 18 January 2017, Chanchai Likhitjitta a former councillor under King Rama IX and present councillor to King Rama X died.

As of January 2017 the council was composed mostly of retired military leaders and members of the judiciary, with 13 members:

# Picture Name Form Until
1   General Prem Tinsulanonda 2 December 2016 Present
2   General Surayud Chulanont 6 December 2016 Present
3   Kasem Watanachai 6 December 2016 Present
4   Palakorn Suwanarat 6 December 2016 Present
5   Air Chief Marshal Chalit Pukbhasuk 6 December 2016 Present
6   Supachai Phungam 6 December 2016 Present
7   Charnchai Likhitchittha 6 December 2016 18 January 2017
8   Atthaniti Disatha-Amnarj 6 December 2016 Present
9   General Paiboon Koomchaya 6 December 2016 Present
10   General Dapong Ratanasuwan 6 December 2016 Present
11   General Teerachai Nakwanich 6 December 2016 Present
12   Wirach Chinvinitkul 13 December 2016 2 March 2018
13   Charunthada Karnasuta 13 December 2016 Present
14   General Kampanat Ruddit 23 December 2016 Present
15   Pongthep Nuthep 13 March 2018 Present
16   Chirayu Isarangkun Na Ayuthaya 13 March 2018 Present

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ http://kanchanapisek.or.th/ohmpc/General-Prem-Tinsulanonda.en.php
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-01-05. 
  3. ^ McGeown, Kate (21 September 2006). "Thai king remains centre stage". BBC News. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "Gen Prem appointed president of the new King's Privy Council". Bangkok Post. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2009-02-09. Retrieved 2009-01-04. 
  6. ^ Constitution of Thailand Archived 2007-06-28 at Archive.is
  7. ^ John, Eric G (2009-11-23). "Thailand: Circles of Influence Inside the Institution of the Monarchy in King Bhumibol's Twilight". Wikileaks. Bangkok: US Embassy. p. 22. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  8. ^ "Wissanu explains royal succession process". Bangkok Post. 15 October 2016. Retrieved 17 October 2016. 
  9. ^ "Thai king appoints new members to royal council". www.atimes.com. Reuters. 6 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016. 
  10. ^ "King appoints 10 members to his Privy Council". Bangkok Post. 7 December 2016. Retrieved 7 December 2016. 
  11. ^ "King appoints two new privy councillors". Thai PBS. 14 December 2016. Retrieved 14 December 2016. 

External linksEdit