The Nitirat campaign to amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code, commonly known as the lese majeste law, has generated a political tempest.
It has struck a consonant chord as much as it has riled apprehensive nerves of reformers and conservatives on both sides of the political fault line centring on the monarchy's role in Thai democracy.
The Article 112 campaign is merely one battle line in Thailand's ongoing search to reconcile monarchy and democracy for its longer-term future. Other battle lines are likely to emerge in what can now be seen as the nascent stage of a great royalist withdrawal _ a logical sequel to eminent social scientist Ben Anderson's analysis of "withdrawal symptoms" after the violence of Oct 6, 1976, arguably the best essay on the nature of Thailand's state and society since its publication.
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