The New Thai Government: Democratic Progress or Regression?
Ending a three-month interregnum following national elections, Thailand finally installed a new government under Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.
The May elections were indisputably free-and-fair, and the appointment of property-tycoon-turned-politician Srettha closed a decade of rule by military-led governments. But many Thais bristle at the result, and there are questions about the stability of the government and the authenticity of the democratic restoration it promised.
Srettha’s Pheu Thai Party heads an awkward 11-party coalition that includes erstwhile enemies. The liberal reformist Move Forward Party, biggest voter winner in the elections, has been shunted into opposition.
So, having voted for change, Thais have seen reformists spurned and old elites reassert themselves.
Srettha aims to soothe popular unhappiness with a generous cash giveaway via a “digital wallet”. But quick fixes won't resolve the big economic and political challenges confronting the new government.
What will this new government mean for Thailand's domestic politics, economy, and foreign relations?
Join Asialink online with former Australian ambassador James Wise, senior lecturer in politics at University of Sydney Dr Aim Sinpeng, and Thammasat University associate professor of economics Thorn Pitidol, moderated by Asialink senior adviser Dr Donald Greenlees.