Thailand's King has not broken German politics ban: Source

A royalist with a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn during a rally in Bangkok on Wednesday. A German parliamentary source says the government believes that the Thai King is permitted to make occasional decisions while living in Germany. PHOTO: AGE
A royalist with a portrait of King Maha Vajiralongkorn during a rally in Bangkok on Oct 28, 2020.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BERLIN • Germany does not believe that Thailand's King has so far breached its ban on conducting politics while living in the country, a parliamentary source has said, after lawmakers were briefed by the government.

Thai protesters asked Germany on Monday to look into whether King Maha Vajiralongkorn, 68, had conducted state business, such as the signing of royal commands and the Annual Expenditure Act, while he was on German soil.

Germany has said it would be unacceptable for the King to conduct politics in the country and Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the European power continued to look into his behaviour during sojourns in Bavaria.

Following a meeting of the Bundestag's foreign affairs committee on Wednesday, the source said the government had told lawmakers that it believes the King is permitted to make occasional decisions, as long as he does not continuously conduct business from Germany.

"The German government has taken the view that it is not yet of the opinion that the Thai King has continuously conducted business," the source said.

When asked about the status of the King, the government told the committee that he has a visa that allows him to live in Germany for several years as a private person and he also enjoys diplomatic immunity as a head of state.

Thailand's political crisis has made the King's presence in Germany a challenge for Berlin, but revoking the visa of a visiting head of state could cause a major diplomatic incident.

"It is very obvious that many find what the Thai King is doing very problematic, but the government says it is not yet the problem of continuous government business," the source said.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 30, 2020, with the headline 'Thailand's King has not broken German politics ban: Source'. Print Edition | Subscribe