Thailand’s First Election Since Military Coup Loosens Junta’s Grip on Power

My new article in openDemocracy analyzing the likely future trajectory of the Prayut administration: Last week, the leader of Thailand’s military junta, Prayut Chan-o-cha, easily won a parliamentary vote against his pro-democracy rival Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit to secure another term as prime minister.At first glance, it seems like a resounding victory for Prayut, a former army […]

Parliament is Messy. Rightfully So.

“Democracy is messy, and it’s hard”, Robert Kennedy once said. “It’s never easy”. Autocracies, on the other hand, are fast and efficient. No wonder the so-called benevolent dictatorships are so attractive; why risk the messiness of democracy when you can get things done at the stroke of a pen? With the commencement of the new […]

After Coronation, A Return to Political Reality

(MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images) May your unity in expressing to me your goodwill augur that everyone, and all sides, shall take action for the further prosperity of our nation.King Maha Vajiralongkorn The coronation of His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn was, politically speaking, a moment where everything in Thailand paused. All eyes were focused on the official […]

Democratic System More Than Just Popular Vote

My new article in the Bangkok Post: Sontirat Sontijirawong, secretary of the Palang Pracharath party, recently complained about the media labeling different parties “pro-democracy” and “pro-dictatorship”. PPRP, Sontirat argued, had run in an election and won 7.9 million votes. It has engaged with the democratic process and as such Palang Pracharath is just as pro-democracy […]

The Future Thailand’s Junta Fears The Most

My new article in the Asia Times: As Thailand edges closer to March 24 elections, the first to be held in the kingdom in nearly eight years, the upstart anti-military Future Forward Party is increasingly under siege.Among the parties competing for seats at the upcoming polls, the progressive party has arguably been the most outspoken […]

Fight the Election Fairly

In an election that continues to be complicated by increasing twists and turns, the Future Forward leader Thanathorn Jueangroongrueangkit has been threatened with prosecution and a possible five-year jail term, which would disqualify him from standing in the election. The grave crime that he committed, it appears, is criticizing the junta and the disputed claim […]

Younger Thais on Thai Politics

In Thailand’s election next month, there will be 5.6 million first-time voters. We’ve heard a lot of conjecture in the news about what these “new voters” are thinking or supporting, with articles tending to opine that new voters are gravitating mainly towards the Future Forward party. I remained skeptical, however, about this generalization. Many of […]