Towards Political Extinction

Towards Political Extinction Blog, Politics, Southeast Asia, Thailand
September 11, 2018

Road-map promises have led nowhere. Democratic aspirations are on the verge of extinction. The junta-controlled National Legislative Assembly voted unanimously to approve Thailand’s 20-year National Strategy.

The National Strategy overlooks six strategic areas: security, competitiveness enhancement, human resource development, social equality, green growth and rebalancing and public sector development.

However this strategy restricts policy-making of future governments, especially civilian-led ones. It binds them to the will of the military establishment.

Protesters prepare for a march to the Government House in May 2018 to mark the fourth anniversary of the 2014 coup. – pic by Khaosod English.

Options For Political Longevity

Atiya Achakulwisut, a columnist for Bangkok Post, hits the dot when assessing the junta leader General Prayut Chan-o-cha’s options:

Gen Prayut has three options. First, he could step down and let electoral democracy run its course. Second, he could enter politics by allowing a political party to nominate him as its candidate for the premiership. Third, he could wait until there is a deadlock in parliament and members nominate him as an outsider PM.

Although quitting remains an option, it is the least sensible of the three. Whether Gen Prayut and his military regime are doing the right thing or not, they have put in their labour for four years. They have also put nefarious plans in place for the next 20 years. There is no reason why they should want to walk away now.

As it is, the country is experiencing an increasing number of corruption with no immediate solutions in sight. Nor are ‘independent organizations’ gaining the trust of the people, due to their questionable accountability and lack of transparency, such as the Elections Commission of Thailand.

Rising Debts

It’s important to note that Thai society is struggling. With a debt mountain of 12.17 trillion baht ($372 billion) at the end of March, the equivalent of 77.6 percent of gross domestic product, Thai households are among the biggest borrowers in Asia and they are finding it increasingly difficult to keep up with payments.

Suffocating Political Freedom

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam admitted for the first time Monday that the reason the military regime hasn’t lifted the ban on political activities is because the ruling junta known as the National Council for Peace and Order is “afraid.”

Afraid, most definitely. In a scenario of a free and fair election, I do not think the junta rulers have the confidence of the majority. Thais have a long memory – they still remember all the unfulfilled action plans, broken promises, social injustice, intimidation and stifling on dissent. Perhaps this societal frustration will them lead to a road-map different from what the junta has envisioned.


“The country needs to move forward. We need an election and a democracy.”

– Petchawat Patthanapong Sirikul



posted by:

Leave feedback

Spread the Word

Related Posts


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a Comment