The prospect that Paetongtarn Shinawatra is likely to be Pheu Thai’s nominee for prime minister at the next election brings with it a certain sense of déjà vu.
Most obviously, it echoes their decision 11 years earlier to nominate Yingluck Shinawatra to run the country, and of its predecessor Palang Prachachon party to pick Somchai Wongsawat as premier. That all three share family ties with former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra — a daughter, sister and brother in law — cannot escape notice.
Lest we be accused of picking on Pheu Thai, however, we should also be reminded that this is a tradition not only within Pheu Thai, but also a very common practice across Thai political parties.
Political clans dominate Thailand to an extraordinary extent, a fact starkly revealed in research by Yoshinori Nishizaki, a professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. Since 1988, he discovered, more than half of parliamentary seats in Thailand were won by members of political families.