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Thailand's New Government - Coalition of Arch Enemies Opposes Political Change

by Dr. Céline-Agathe Caro, Sarita Piyawongrungruang

The priorities of the new head of government, Srettha Thavisin, are in the economic sphere, also for Thailand's foreign policy

The May 14 parliamentary elections in Thailand were deemed a success for the democratic process by all observers, with the Electoral Commission recognizing a large victory for the progressive Move Forward Party (MFP), which became the largest faction in the House of Representatives. The unelected Senate – appointed by the former military government – prevented the MFP from forming a government, while the Constitutional Court suspended its leader Pita Limcharoenrat over an alleged breach of election rules. The outcome of the 2023 electoral cycle reflects the balance of power in Thailand under the current constitution, under which conservative elites and the military continue to exert control over the political process in order to protect their interests. This election demonstrates what appears to be their collective goal -- maintain control over political outcomes, while creating enough democratic space to ensure that Thailand saves face internationally and its citizens refrain from demonstrating in the streets. 

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Thailand's new head of government hails from the Pheu Thai Party (PTP), the second-largest faction in Parliament. Srettha Thavisin, a 61-year-old real estate tycoon, was elected Prime Minister on 22nd August 2023 after PTP succeeded in building a coalition with the military-dominated parties of the previous government, its traditional rivals. The new PTP government announced its intention to boost the economy with several subsidy schemes and a pragmatic, trade-oriented stance on the international stage. For the many Thais who voted in favor of structural reforms and the introduction of stronger democratic institutions, the new administration lacks legitimacy. While the new government has been generally accepted internationally, it remains to be seen whether pro-reform Thais will stay off the streets until the next elections, when they will be able to try, once again, to elect a government that reflects their wishes.

 

You can download the entire report in German here.

 

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The Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung is a political foundation. Our offices abroad are in charge of over 200 projects in more than 120 countries. The country reports offer current analyses, exclusive evaluations, background information and forecasts - provided by our international staff.