Thailand has had a constitutional monarchy since 1932, but in many respects the system has been unstable. To some extent, this reflects the broader political instability of the Thai political system, with its alternating cycles of military and civilian rule.
At the same time, it is due to the weakness of constitutionalism in Thailand: the country is currently on its 17th promulgated constitution, and there have been times when none was in force at all.
As a result, the balance of power between the two institutions of monarchy and constitution has fluctuated dramatically over the nearly eight decades since the end of the absolute monarchy.
The history of the constitutional monarchy can be divided into at least five distinct periods based on the evolution of the specific relationship between these two institutions:
monarchy under constitution
monarchy vs. constitution
monarchy without constitution
monarchy outside constitution
This paper mentions the details of each of these periods and includes arguments about why and how to defend the monarchy.
Some of the results include the following:
the transition to a constitutional monarchy is in effect as unfinished process since the relationship between the two key institutions has yet to fully stabilize and since the functioning of the political system continues to involve a considerable degree of royal authority
the constitution has failed to become saksit and thus it is unable to serve as a baseline or foundation for the political process
monarchy in Thailand has a history
it has always been a dynamic rather than a static institution
much of its historic success can be attributed to that dynamism
monarchy in Thailand has long been able to reinvent itself during bad times in order to play a new, constructive role later on