Thai Elections

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Between Two Worlds: Thailand’s Coup One Year On

May 27, 2015

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The first anniversary of Thailand’s latest coup passed without ceremony or acknowledgment by the military-led National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), which assumed power following the ouster of the elected Pheu Thai government on May 22 last year. The anniversary was marked by fresh statements of concern from international organizations, pointed commentary from international news agencies and country specialists, and thoughtful reflections by a handful of respected Thai political observers whose public prominence and carefully measured views limit their risk of political censure.

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Southeast Asia in 2015: Maritime Security, Myanmar Elections, TPP Top Agenda

January 7, 2015

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Southeast Asia enters 2015 facing a number of critical challenges that will have a bearing on its future: Can economic integration be achieved among all 10 members of ASEAN? How might maritime security disputes unite or splinter ASEAN? Will democracy in Myanmar continue to develop apace? Will democratic development in Thailand be further weakened? Also looming large is the question of whether the U.S. can ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a key economic ingredient in the country’s rebalancing strategy toward Asia. Below are some of my predictions on these issues.

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No Sign of Compromise in Thailand’s Deepening Political Crisis

May 14, 2014

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A turbulent last 10 days in Thailand’s protracted political crisis has left its embattled political leaders no closer to a compromise solution. Emboldened by the Constitutional Court’s decision last week to remove former Pheu Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra…

 

Fissures in Thailand: Both Natural and Man-Made

May 14, 2014

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May 5 was the start of a very tumultuous week in Thailand on many fronts. But it initially did not start that way. May 5 is Coronation Day in Thailand, a national holiday, which this year commemorated the 64th anniversary of King Bhumipol Adulyadev’s ascension to the throne.

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Observing Thailand’s Tense Elections

February 5, 2014

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Despite months of protests by anti-government demonstrators, and an election boycott by the main opposition party, the Democrat Party, Thailand held a national election on Sunday. The protesters, known as the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), were demanding that the current government led…

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Credible Reform, Not Shutdown, Needed to End Thailand’s Political Standoff

January 15, 2014

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For more than two months, tens of thousands of anti-government protesters have gathered at Democracy Monument and other major intersections throughout Bangkok. Initially, the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), led by former long-time Democrat politician, Suthep Thaugsuban…

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The Bangkok Shutdown and Thailand’s Battle for Democracy

January 15, 2014

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As anti-government protests shut down Thailand’s capital this week, In Asia editor Alma Freeman spoke with The Asia Foundation’s country representative in Thailand and Bangkok resident, Kim McQuay, about the situation on the ground.

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Thailand Political Standoff: The Latest Flash of Deep-Seated Tensions

December 11, 2013

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This week, Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of controversial former leader Thaksin Shinawatra, dissolved parliament in response to an escalating anti-government protest movement. Led by former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, the movement has mobilized tens of thousands of whistle-blowing demonstrators under the banner of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC). PDRC has declared its intention to unseat the Pheu Thai government, remove the Shinawatra family from politics, and press for the appointment of an imprecisely defined “People’s Council” that would seemingly be composed of neutral, respected leaders who would replace elected government for an undefined period of time.

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Asia Foundation’s Thailand Country Rep Speaks on Post-Election Environment

October 5, 2011

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Nearly five months have passed since Thailand elected its first-ever woman prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, younger sister of the controversial former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, who was ousted in a military coup in 2006.

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What Happens When Thaksin Returns to Thailand?

August 10, 2011

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Last week, Thailand made history when its parliament elected its first-ever woman Prime Minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, one month after her Pheu Thai party swept the July 3 elections. However, Prime Minister Yingluck’s ability to rise to the top of Thailand’s political echelon is not because of her political acumen.

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Is Thailand’s Political Turmoil a Sign of Positive Societal Transformation?

July 13, 2011

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Thailand’s political landscape throughout much of the 20th century was populated by numerous regional or personality-based parties, and characterized by weak coalition governments. Alliances and coalitions were made and broken easily, as parties sought the best deal for their constituents and members.

 

Thailand’s Deep South: A Political Labyrinth

July 13, 2011

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Contrary to the predictions made by the plethora of political pundits watching Thailand’s elections that the Democrats would have difficulty holding their five current seats in Thailand’s Deep South, the Democrats instead ran away with nine out of 11 constituent seats.

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Thai Citizens Vigilant Observers During Election, But Upholding Democracy Doesn’t Stop There

July 13, 2011

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At a polling station in Chiang Mai province, election officials were busy counting votes just moments after the polls closed for Thailand’s July 3 general election. As counting continued, each ballot was placed aside in a pile, visible to the large crowd observing.

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Dark Reality to Vote Buying in Thailand

July 13, 2011

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Having served as a short-term international observer for the general election in Thailand earlier this month on July 3, I unfortunately became somewhat of an expert in the dark arts of vote buying. As one of 60 observers from the Asian Network for Free Elections (ANFREL) deployed around the country…

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Thai Election Day 2011: Scenes from Phra Pradaeng

July 5, 2011

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UjKi3P3WrhQ&feature=channel_video_title

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Does Campaign Rhetoric Resonate or Ring Hollow with Thai Voters?

June 29, 2011

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At first glance, the lead-up to Thailand’s July 3 national parliamentary election seems little different from previous electoral countdowns. The campaign period has been fairly low-key, with political leaders occupied for the most part in defining their individual campaign personas and fairly measured in their comments on the character and record of opponents. Only now, in the closing days of the campaign, have reciprocal criticisms borne a sharper edge.

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Will Thaksin Outmaneuver Thailand’s Military and Traditional Elites?

June 29, 2011

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Between March and May 2010, Thailand experienced its worst href=”http://asiafoundation.org/2010/05/19/thailand-black-may-redux/”>political violence in decades. Since then, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has insisted that he and his government are committed to national reconciliation. Shortly afterwards, a truth and reconciliation commission was established to investigate the military crackdown that culminated in May…

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Thailand Election Primer

June 29, 2011

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Thai elections can be challenging to follow for even the most ardent political watchers. On July 3, Thai voters will head to the polls for the 26th time since the country became a Constitutional Monarchy in 1932. This means that, over the past 79 years, Thais on average have cast their ballot every three years.

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Thailand’s National Election

June 29, 2011

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Since the emergence of Thailand’s Yellow and Red movements, many observers have maintained that Thai citizens are deeply divided into two polarized camps: one comprised of traditional ruling elites, the other, of under-privileged rural masses. On July 3, Thais head to the polls in the first national election since violent protests left 91 dead in M… Read more

 

In Thailand: Is an End to the Political Paralysis in Sight?

September 10, 2008

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On September 8th, Thailand’s constitutional court rendered the decision that Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej must resign after being found guilty of violating a ban on ministers for taking money from a private company.  Article 267 of the constitution prohibits ministers from taking money from outside interests.  In this case it was for accepting m… Read more

 

In Thailand: Thaksin — Thinking 5 Minutes Ahead of Everyone Else

March 5, 2008

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On February 28th, former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra returned to Bangkok after being deposed by a military coup on September 19, 2006. He was greeted warmly and enthusiastically by thousands of his supporters. Upon his arrival, Mr. Thaksin was taken to the Supreme Court to face arrest warrant and was quickly bailed, and then taken to the Offi… Read more

 

Thailand’s New Government: Back to the Future?

February 6, 2008

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When Thailand’s military leaders carried out their coup on September 19, 2006, they justified their action by saying they had to suspend democracy in order to save it as they believed Thailand under Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s rule was irrevocably dividing the country. The military wanted to prevent Thaksin, who so ably manipulated the 1997… Read more