June 15, 2024

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Thailand: Election-winning party could soon be banned – News

Thailand: Election-winning party could soon be banned – News

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Move Forward won the most votes in the last election. However, the party is facing stiff opposition from those in power.

33-year-old MP Pyarat Songthep wears an orange tie – the color of his Move Forward party. He was elected to Parliament a year ago. He definitely looked forward to his personal selection, says Byarat. “But not because the whole party will be good.”

To the surprise of many, an orange wave swept across the country. Move Forward immediately became the strongest party with more seats in parliament. Supporters were overjoyed.

Promise the wrong thing to move forward

But the landslide election result worried him: “We were afraid that they would not accept us as number one, destroy us, dissolve the party. This is how it works in Thailand,” says Byarat.

By “they” he means the country’s conservative elite from business, royalty and the military. They were enthusiastic about the reform plans of the young, progressive party.

Law is not always the driving force, it is always politics.

Move forward and, among other things, reform the military — particularly the sensitive — loosening of the strict lese majeste law. The Election Commission eventually found the election promise to be an attempt to overthrow the monarchy and demanded the dissolution of the party.

The Constitutional Court will meet next month.

The young party is likely to be banned by the court

Janjira Sompadpoonsiri, a political scientist at Sulanlongkorn University, thinks the party will be banned. In such cases, he says, it is not about legal aid in Thailand. “Law is never the driving force, it’s always politics.”

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The Constitutional Court is therefore expected to implement the wishes of the establishment. “Elites see themselves as adults who have to discipline stubborn kids — kids who challenge the status quo,” says Zanjira.

Thailand is not a fully democratic country in the Western sense.

Member of Parliament Birat was a well-known activist in the democracy movement before being elected to Parliament. The elite’s actions against his party say a lot about the state of Thai democracy. “Thailand is not a complete democracy in the Western sense,” he says. He and his colleagues call it “Thai-style democracy.”

Pyarat says that if they are barred from going forward, they will simply form a new party. That’s easy in Thailand. However, the party leadership may be barred from politics, which worries him. Because the same thing happened with the previous party, Future Forward.

Time is playing out for democracy

Using the judiciary as a political weapon is unpopular with voters in Thailand. Janjira, a political scientist, says that the elites’ support among the people is decreasing day by day.

Elites will retain their influence in Thailand in the future and can continue to interfere in democracy. However, the longer political oppression lasts, the more people will sympathize with the oppressed.

At least in the long run, the times seem to be working for the democratic movement.