from Asia Unbound

Monarchy and Modern Democracy

May 25, 2010

Blog Post

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Heads of State and Government

Politics and Government

A Thai soldier stands guard near a portrait of Thai King Bhumibol  Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit at a checkpoint in central Bangkok May 21,  2010.
Photo Courtesy of Reuters/Yannis Behrakis

As Thailand attempts to right itself after two months of political turmoil, the future of the country’s monarchy, probably its most important institution, will be a central part of the debate. In Sunday’s Boston Globe Ideas section, I published an article  that examines why monarchy remains relevant in modern democracies – and how these kings and queens can damage their images by appearing to favor one political party or faction. In Thailand, KingAdulyadej, for over sixty years the bedrock of Thailand’s political system, now runs that risk himself, which could damage his own legacy and make the transition to his successor even harder.