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Constitution-Making in the 21st Century Thailand: The Continuing Search for Perfect Paper

[published in the Chinese Journal of Comparative Law 2019] By Andrew Harding and Rawin Leelapatana 1 . Introduction             Since the 1932 Revolution that changed the system of government in Thailand from an absolute to a constitutional monarchy, the country has intermittently been convulsed by a succession of periods of political instability . For the last 87 years Thailand has oscillated between military ( or military - backed ) dictatorial rule and civilian government under a liberal, multi-party democracy, witnessing 13 successful coups and 20 constitutions, the latest constitution being that of 2017 . Notwithstanding the 1997 reforms aimed at halting this ‘ vicious cycle ’ of coups and constitutions , the constitutional and political stability Thailand has sought seems to be even more elusive in the 21 st century than it was in the 20 th , following the occurrence from 2006 onwards of ‘ colour - coded politics ’ or conflict between the ‘Red’ and ‘Yellow