Ahead of 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. But while a clear margin of victory would limit the military-backed regime’s ability to remain in power by legal means, it could prompt another coup or a judicial intervention.
In early March, former Cambodian opposition leader Kem Sokha was convicted of treason and sentenced to 27 years in prison, preventing him from challenging Prime Minister Hun Sen in elections scheduled for July. Kem Sokha’s legal persecution has laid bare Hun Sen’s desire to remove any and all threats to his grip on power.
In the past year, Laos has witnessed more popular unrest than it has in decades. Under normal circumstances, the regime would typically respond to any public displays of dissent by cracking down on protesters and circling its wagons. But amid severe economic distress, many citizens are increasingly undaunted by the fear of repression.