Thailand’s Government Promised Change. It’s Delivering Chaos

Thailand’s Government Promised Change. It’s Delivering Chaos
Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin speaks to the media after the first official Cabinet meeting of the new government following last year’s elections, in Bangkok, Thailand, Sept. 13, 2023 (Sipa photo by Peerapon Boonyakiat via AP Images).

In late April, less than a year after his government took office, Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin announced a Cabinet reshuffle. The news was accompanied by the abrupt resignation of Foreign Minister Parnpree Bahiddha-Nukara and followed by the resignations of Vice Foreign Minister Sihasak Phuangketkeow and Deputy Finance Minister Krisada Chinavicharana last week.

The upheaval within the ruling coalition underscores the degree to which, since Thailand’s general election in May 2023, the country’s politics, which could have been calmed by a successful vote, have only become more polarized and chaotic.

In the immediate aftermath of what was the country’s first relatively free election since the end of military rule in 2018, Move Forward, the reformist party that won the most Lower House parliamentary seats in the polls, was never given a real chance to form a government. Before leaving power, the junta had crafted a new constitution by which a party had to win not just a majority in the Lower House to take power, but rather a majority of the combined Lower House and Senate. Given that nearly all the fairly conservative senators owed their place in the Upper House to the former junta, Move Forward, which had vast support among Thailand’s youth, had no chance.

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