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Title: The Kelsen-Schmitt debate and the use of emergency powers in political crises in Thailand
Author: Leelapatana, Rawin
ISNI:       0000 0004 7961 6448
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2019
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Carl Schmitt and Hans Kelsen were prominent jurists during the Weimar Republic who engaged in the debate on the nature and use of emergency powers in a political crisis of liberal democracy ('PCLD'). As a liberal, Kelsen advocated a law-based response to an emergency situation together with the narrow interpretation of emergency powers and constitutional review, whereas as an anti-liberal conservative, Schmitt called for legally unconstrained emergency decisions by the sovereign to exclude 'enemies' causing a political crisis. This thesis considers how this debate might apply to Thailand. In post-absolutist Thailand after 1932, the conflict between the pro-democracy and the conservative factions reflected the PCLD, and resulted in military coups together with martial law supported by the suspension of liberal democracy viewed as a threat to the nationalist-conservative tradition known as Thai-ness and other uses of emergency legislations by the government of both factions. Though the conservative, later known as the 'Yellow' faction, still holds the upper-hand in politics given its ability to engineer a coup-the invocation of sovereign authority in the Schmittian sense-such hegemony and ability have been declining in recent years due to the struggles for a commitment to liberal constitutionalism, including the fuller implementation of the Kelsenian project in 1997. The application of the Kelsen-Schmitt debate in the Thai context accordingly exemplifies an aspiring democracy struggling against the declining hegemony of the Schmittian idea. It then reveals what I call the binary-star conception of emergency powers which shows the gravitational pull between the increasing need to liberalise and institutionalise the Schmittian idea, especially by resorting to a Kelsenian legal-rational legitimacy, and the growing need to resort to Schmitt's idea of political struggle to move the Kelsenian liberal-democratic project forward.
Supervisor: Greer, Steven ; Psygkas, Athanasios Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available