Thai military chooses lesser evil

Thailand’s voters rejected in May 2023 in a massive landslide move the military installed government that has ruled the country since the coup in 2014. The coup that was designed to end all coups by imposing a longer transition period than after any other previous coup since the revolution overthrew the monarchy in 1932 and by installing a constitution that would make it almost impossible for the enemy, the Thaksin-controlled party under different names, to return to power.

The massive wish of the population to ditch the military led regime was a surprise to the military led coalition that would have been able to thwart off the success of Thaksin’s Phue Thai party had it not been for the incredible support that the voters gave the reformist party Move Forward, that had risen from the ashes of the Future Forward party which the regime thought it had burned down four years earlier following its popularity in the 2019 election.

Initially, the democratic alternative to the military-led coalition seemed to band together Pheu Thai and Move Forward even when facing a formidable resistance from the current rulers using all means disposable, disguising it as legitimate legal moves based on the constitution, which was installed by the rulers themselves with this very purpose. 

Eventually, the military and all its diaspora in major business corporations feared the possibility of a coalition government under the control of the Move Forward and the Pheu Thai party so much so, that they changed strategy for the past twenty years. Instead of keeping up the fight with their arch-enemy, Thaksin Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party, they banded up with this very same party simply to avoid the greater of the two “evils”, the Move Forward party forming a government. 

This is, to say the least, an uneasy marriage.

Now, the Pheu Thai party faces an uphill battle in persuading all its loyal supporters in every rural district in the country to twist around and suddenly embrace their former enemies in the form of Bangkok imposed provincial governors and head of provincial departments and local police and army commanders. These local leaders’ opposition to the establishment had been their personal identity and the platform for their popularity for many years. 

Should they try to accommodate the request of the owners of the party, how many of their supporters will find that unacceptable and move their vote to the most obvious political alternative, the Move Forward Party?

About Gregers Møller

Editor-in-Chief • ScandAsia Publishing Co., Ltd. • Bangkok, Thailand

View all posts by Gregers Møller

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