Thailand’s junta prepares to delay the democratic dream yet again
Daniel Maxwell says the Thai public is souring on the military junta and wants its promised general election, but Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha’s grip on the office appears secure whether an election happens or is delayed
There are also reports that the junta plans to form a new party. A deputy leader of the Democratic Party said the possible election delay would help the junta, which needs time to establish its own party. Delaying the election to 2019 also gives them time to improve their popularity.
An additional 12 months may help the national council make more progress, but it’s more likely that, by 2019, the country’s voters will have grown more weary of the generals.
But Prayuth does not require much public support to retain the premiership. Thailand’s 2017 constitution gives 250 military-appointed senators the authority to vote alongside the 500 members from the House of Representatives to select the next prime minister. Just 126 votes from the House of Representatives would be enough.
The prospects of a democratically elected civilian government leading the country are more distant than ever.
Daniel Maxwell is a writer and educator