Thailand’s Opposition Will Need More Than Votes to Win Upcoming Elections

Thailand’s Opposition Will Need More Than Votes to Win Upcoming Elections
Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the Pheu Thai party’s candidate for prime minister, speaks to supporters during a pre-election campaign in Chiang Mai, Thailand, Feb. 26, 2023 (Sipa photo by Pongmanat Tasiri via AP Images).

Less than a month before Thailand’s election, Pheu Thai, the country’s main opposition party, is gaining momentum as it looks to end nearly a decade of military-backed rule. Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has been in power since 2014, when as an army general he led a coup that toppled the democratically elected government of then-Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. Three years later, the junta Prayuth headed introduced a new constitution that skewed the electoral system in favor of military-linked parties.

That paved the way for Prayuth’s election as prime minister in 2019, with the backing of a 250-strong Senate appointed by the military, despite Palang Pracharath—the party he led at the time—having won fewer seats than Pheu Thai. Since then, nominal civilian rule has been overseen by the generals, starting with Prayuth, who led the 2014 coup.

Prayuth hopes to remain prime minister after the voting on May 14, but this time as the leader of the United Thai Nation Party, or UTNP. The party was formed last year amid a rift between Prayuth and Prawit Wongsuwon, his former mentor and Thailand’s deputy prime minister, who is running as Palang Pracharath’s candidate for the top job in this year’s election.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.

More World Politics Review