Congressman Blumenauer Statement on the Passing of King Bhumibol
WASHINGTON D.C. – Today, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03) released the following statement on the passing of King Bhumibol.
"As previous co-chair of the Congressional Friends of Thailand Caucus, I offer my deepest condolences to the people of Thailand for the loss of their beloved King Bhumibol Adulyadej. King Bhumibol inherited the throne as a youth of 18. He guided his people with a steady hand through more than 70 years of troubled times. As Southeast Asia experienced unprecedented change, he remained a constant. Devoted to his country and revered by its citizens, he will be sorely missed.
"His passing provides the Thai regime with a unique opportunity for reflection on the country’s state of affairs. The controversy surrounding the appropriate line of succession represents a unique historical juncture. A constitutional monarchy since 1932, the country has seen consistent military coups which have undermined democratically-elected governments. Some argue that today’s ruling junta is one of the harshest we’ve seen thus far with its attempts to suppress dissidents.
"During this period of deep grieving, I hope that Thailand’s royalists, generals, politicians and citizens will take seriously their now increased responsibilities to the Thai people. The junta should take steps to move towards democracy and keep its promises to its citizens by holding new elections as soon as possible. Additionally, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha should put to a referendum a new constitution that strengthens civil liberties and the rule of law. These are critical steps in the right direction.
"Now is the time to mourn a cherished King, but also to ensure a brighter future for Thailand."