Thailand: Time for Democracy

By Andrew Firmin CIVICUS Editor-in-Chief, co-director and writer for CIVICUS Lens and co-author of the State of Civil Society Report.

Thailand’s voters have spoken. In the 14 May general election, they overwhelmingly backed change. Two major opposition parties won 293 seats in the 500-member House of Representatives.

The party that unexpectedly came first, Move Forward, quickly announced it had formed a coalition with the runner-up, Pheu Thai, and six others, accounting for 313 seats. So if democracy is respected, when parliament next meets, the Move Forward-headed coalition should become the government and its leader, Pita Limjaroenrat, prime minister.

But there’s a problem: Thailand’s powerful military. Over the past century, Thailand has had 13 military coups, most recently in 2014. At the last election in 2019, widely considered neither free nor fair, junta head Prayut Chan-o-cha donned a civilian suit and held onto power.

But this time, voters made it abundantly clear they don’t want the military in power. Now Thailand stands at a fork in the road: will a new, democratically elected government be allowed to take power? Or, as before, will the military intervene to stop it happening?

Read on Inter Press Service News