Politics of Thailand

Election of Bangkok governor turns into mini-referendum

Democrat Party's Bangkok governor candidate Sukhumbhand Paribatra. Photo: AP

Almost three years after the Thai capital was engulfed by weeks of deadly violence between the "red-shirt" supporters of exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the opposition "yellow shirts", today's election to decide who will be Bangkok's next governor has become a mini-national referendum.

Sunday, 3 March, 2013, 6:12am

Coffee threat to Shinawatra daughter by Cathay attendant

Cathay Pacific is now under pressure to sack the flight attendant who posted the coffee threat on Facebook.

Getting served a cup of coffee is a routine part of flying, but the thought now has uncomfortable associations for one frequent business class patron, especially on board Cathay Pacific.

3 Dec 2012 - 7:28am 11 comments

Thai police warn of plot to abduct Yingluck Shinawatra as rally looms

Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Photo: Reuters

Thai police have warned of a plot to abduct Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as her cabinet approved using an internal security law to manage an anti- government rally scheduled for tomorrow.

23 Nov 2012 - 2:44am

Thailand should brace for more bruising politics

Yingluck Shinawatra will likely serve a full four-year term and this will infuriate her political opponents. Photo: Xinhua

Thailand could be heading towards a new round of violent political confrontations. Late last month, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra reshuffled the cabinet for the third time in just over a year. She brought in a number of trusted allies of her brother Thaksin, the country's former premier who is believed to be the real power behind the current government.

12 Nov 2012 - 3:36am

Thaksin scales back Myanmar visit after reports of assassination plot

Thaksin Shinawatra

When Thailand's former premier Thaksin Shinawatra announced plans to visit the Myanmese border town of Tachileik tomorrow and Saturday, it prompted thousands of his supporters to book out hotels in the neighbouring town of Mae Sai on the Thai side of the border.

8 Nov 2012 - 3:58am

Royalty and democracy make an unhappy match

On Sunday, Thailand will commemorate the 80th anniversary of the abolition of absolute monarchy. After so long, however, not only has democracy struggled to take root, the monarchy has refused to step aside. Instead, it continues to dominate the political body and obstruct democratisation, deepening political polarisation.

22 Jun 2012 - 12:00am

Thais on collision course over lese-majeste law

Known in Thailand as 'Uncle SMS', Amphon 'Akong' Tangnoppakul died last week in detention, less than six months after being sentenced to 20 years in jail for violating the lese-majeste law. Akong was accused of sending four text messages to a secretary of former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, messages that were deemed to be extremely insulting to the queen.

15 May 2012 - 12:00am

Thaksin return won't bring reconciliation

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, a fugitive from Thai law, continues to raise the political temperature at home. Recently, while visiting South Korea, he said he would return to Thailand at the end of the year.

21 Mar 2012 - 12:00am

Archaic law serves only to weaken the monarchy

The increasing number of lese-majeste cases in Thailand in recent years has dangerously worsened the human rights situation in the country. The case of Amphon 'Akong' Thangnoppakul, 61, who was sentenced to 20 years in prison, highlighted the misuse of the law to undermine political opponents. Amphon was found guilty on four counts under the lese-majeste law and computer crime laws.

19 Dec 2011 - 12:00am

Five years are enough to do lasting damage

Five years ago today, the Thai military staged a coup which overthrew the elected government of Thaksin Shinawatra. Some Thais blamed Thaksin for triggering the crisis. But little did they know that the coup that was supposed to kill the 'Thaksin disease' was itself a disease that undermined Thai democracy.

19 Sep 2011 - 12:00am

It won't be easy for Yingluck

'You Decide' was the compelling message some Thai newspapers had on their front pages yesterday.

Unfortunately, nothing in Thailand's fragile democracy was ever going to be quite that simple.

4 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Will it just be another Thai Groundhog Day at the polls?

If Thai politics was a movie, it would be tempting to think of it as Groundhog Day, or at least Back to the Future.

Thailand's 47 million voters go to the polls today in an election that, once again, is all about fugitive Thaksin Shinawatra. With Thaksin come the divides that continue to split one of the region's traditionally freest countries.

3 Jul 2011 - 12:00am

Military's backing will ensure win for Abhisit

Thailand is gearing up for an election that will do little on its own to end years of polarised politics and social divisions. Tensions are rising in Bangkok over fears of a resurgence in violence and even the possibility of a coup.

However, it is imperative to examine the rules of the political game and how they have changed.

16 May 2011 - 12:00am

Road map stops far short of the goal

Many in Thailand felt more optimistic about the political future following Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's offer to hold elections on November 14. But that optimism quickly waned when the 'red shirt' United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) came up with its own conditions and demands.

12 May 2010 - 12:00am

'Red shirts' back with a bang, vowing to mount a million-strong demonstration

The 'red shirts', enemies of the Bangkok establishment, are back in the capital this weekend vowing to transform Thailand forever with a million strong demonstration of popular anger.

12 Mar 2010 - 12:00am