Page:Statesman's Year-Book 1899 American Edition.djvu/1352

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996

SIAM.

(Sayam, or Muang-Thai.) Reigning King.

Chulalongkorn I. (Somdetcli Phra Paramindr Maha), born September 21, 1853; the eldest son of the late King, Maha Mongkut, and of Queen Ramphiiy (Kroni Somdetcli Pratape Sirindr) ; succeeded to the throne on the death of his father, October 1, 1868.

Children of the King.

Children of II. M. the Queeyi.

I, Princess "Walai-alongkorn, born April 1883,

II. Princess Sirapornsophon, born July 9, 1887.

Children of the Second Queen.

I. Prince Chowfa Maha Vajiravudh, January 1, 1880 (proclaimed Crown Prince January 17, 1895).

II. Prince Chowfa Chakrapongse Poowanarth, March 3, 1881. III. Prince Chowfa Asadang Dajarvoot, May 1889 ; and others.

Brothers of the King. I. Somdetcli Chowfa Chaturant Rasmi, born January 14, 1857. Title : Krom Pra Chakrapatipongse.

II. Somdetcli Cliowfa Bhanurangsi Swangwongse, born January 13, 1860. Title: Krom Pra Bhanupandhwongse Woiadej. There are also twenty half-brothers of the king.

The royal dignity is nominally hereditary, but does not descend always from the father to the eldest son, each sovereign being invested with the privilege of nominating his own successor. The reigning king has reintro- duced the practice of nominating the Crown Prince, early in his reign. This step, taken^in 1887, Avill have the effect of increasing the stability and order of things, and of establishing the reigning dynasty.

Government.

The executive power is exeiv-ised by the King advised by a Cabinet (Senabodi) consisting of the heads of the various departments of the Government : Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice, Finance, Public In- struction, Public Works, War, Marine, Police, &c. Most of the portfolios are held by the King's half-brothers. The law of May 8, 1874, constituting a Council of State, has now been superseded by the Royal Decree of January 10, 1895, creating a Legislative Council. The latter is composed of the Ministers of State and others, not less than 12 in number, appointed by the Crown. The total membership is now 43. In the preamble of the Royal Decree it is stated that the object of this body is to revise, amend, and complete the legislation of the kingdom. It is to meet at least once a week, and it may appoint committees of 3 or 4 members, with the addition of competent outsiders who must not outnuml)cr the members. An important article gives the Legislative Council power to promulgate laws without the Royal assent in the event of any temporary disability of the Crown. At other times the Royal .signature is indisjjensable. This Council has already shown considerable legislative activity, but it is feared that the power and determination to enforce the new laws may prove inadequate.

Kcdah, Patani, Kclantan, and Tringganu, in the Malay Peninsula,