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Public Law & Legal Theory


Thailand’s constitution of 1997 introduced profound changes into the country’s governance, creating a “postpolitical” democratic structure in which an intricate array of guardian institutions served to limit the role of elected politicians. Ultimately, the constitutional structure was undermined in a military coup against populist billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, who had taken over many of the institutions designed to constrain political power. Nonetheless, the 1997 constitution appears to be having a significant afterlife, in that its institutional innovations have survived the enactment of a new Constitution and continue to constrain the political process. This article describes the Thai situation and speculates on the conditions for constitutional afterlife.



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