Note: This piece was published on June 1st. The government has since survived the first reading of the budget.
As the dust settled on the Bangkok gubernatorial elections, Captain Thammanat Promphao wrote a curiously phrased post on his Facebook page. “Congratulations to everyone in our family who won council seats in several districts” he wrote. An innocuous statement at first glance — until one remembers that his party, the Thai Economics Party, did not field any candidates in this race. So who is his political “family”?
Perhaps he was referring to his allies who were officially running with the Rak Khrung Thep group. Or he was congratulating the Pheu Thai Party, to which he once belonged, for winning the most seats. Thammanat later clarified that it was directed at his allies with Rak Khrung Thep, Palang Pracharath, and “various other parties.” It was a reminder that his powerful figure, whom the prime minister had sidelined after he led a failed parliamentary coup last year, retains his influence.