Is political engagement by constitutional monarchs compatible with democracy?

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Constitutional monarchies have proved to be resilient, and some have made substantive political interventions even though their positions are mostly hereditary, without granted constitutional channels to do so. This article examines how constitutional monarchs can influence political affairs and what impact royal intervention can have on politics. I argue that constitutional monarchs affect politics indirectly by influencing the preferences of the public who have de jure power to influence political leaders. The analyses herein show that constitutional monarchs do not indiscriminately intervene in politics, but their decisions to intervene reflect the public’s preferences. First, constitutional monarchs with little public approval become self-restraining and do not attempt to assert their political preferences. Second, they are more likely to intervene in politics when the public is less satisfied about the incumbent government. These findings are illustrated with historical narratives regarding the political involvement of King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand in the 2000s.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAsian Journal of Comparative Politics
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • constitutional monarchy
  • formal model
  • hereditary political institutions
  • monarchy
  • Thailand

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Political Science and International Relations

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