Thailand

Thailand’s junta has relinquished military rule in favour of pseudo-democracy in which a pro-military party governs with a narrow parliamentary majority. There are no obvious near-term triggers for political turmoil in Thailand, but the country’s fundamental political and social divisions have not been bridged, and there is potential for future conflict. In the deep south, the Malay-Muslim separatist insurgency continues, while the dialogue process appears moribund. Crisis Group aims to reduce the risk of escalation in the south and limit medium-term threats to political stability by supporting strengthened democratic institutions and promoting substantive peace talks. 

CrisisWatch Thailand

Unchanged Situation

Pro-democracy demonstrators protested against govt as Constitutional Court ruled that PM Prayuth could remain in post, while attacks continued in deep south.

Amid anti-govt protests, court ruled PM Prayuth could stay in post. Pro-democracy protest group Kana Lomruam Prachachon 4 Sept held protest against govt involving hundreds in central Bangkok, following late Aug protests calling for resignations of Deputy PM Prawit Wongsuwan and Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda; protests developed amid PM Prayuth Chan-ocha’s suspension from PM’s duties in Aug pending outcome of case to determine when his term in office began. Constitutional Court 30 Sept ruled that Prayuth could remain PM as his eight-year term limit began with promulgation of constitution in April 2017.

Curtailment of peaceful dissent continued. Bangkok court 12 Sept sentenced political activist Jatuporn “New” Saeoueng under lèse-majesté law to two years prison for insulting monarchy by allegedly impersonating queen at 2020 protest.

In deep south, insurgent attacks continued. Gunmen on motorcycles 12 Sept killed elderly rubber tapper couple in Muang district, Yala province. IED 20 Sept targeting police patrol detonated in front of hospital in Mai Kaen district, Pattani province, killing one police officer and wounding four others.

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In The News

12 Feb 2020
I think the reason [for the new talks in Thailand] is that [the Muslim separatists] recognize that the conflict is not going to end on the battlefield for them; it's goin... Voice of America

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
22 Jan 2020
As difficult as the [peace process in Thailand] has been up to this point, the most difficult work remains to be done. AFP

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
10 Jun 2017
[The Barisan Revolusi Nasional sees its struggle as] nationalist and anti-colonial. Subordinating their struggle to a forlorn agenda imposed by outsiders would be counter... The Straits Times

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
28 Apr 2017
The militants [of the National Revolutionary Front] continue to demonstrate that they have the capabilities to launch attacks across the region despite of the security me... Voice of America

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
10 Apr 2017
[The main southern Thai insurgent group BRN] perceive the current (peace) process as one driven by Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur for their own interests. AFP

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
28 Aug 2016
The bombings [in Thailand] may have been intended to compel the military government to reconsider its approach to the conflict in the deep south. The Washington Post

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia

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Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
Matthew Wheeler