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

Authorities convicted several individuals on lèse-majesté charges and condemned killing of Thai nationals in Israel, while violence persisted in deep south.

Courts handed down spate of convictions for lèse-majesté. Notably, Provincial court in Phitsanuloke 4 Oct convicted graduate student of lèse-majesté for Facebook posts, deferred sentencing for two years. Chiang Mai Provincial Court found activist Wanwalee Thammasattaya guilty of lèse-majesté, sentenced to two years and eight months in prison. Ratchapisek Criminal Court 11 Oct convicted man of lèse-majesté for post criticising COVID-19 vaccine production by Siam Bioscience company, which is owned by King Maha Vajiralongkorn; court gave suspended sentence of one year and six months. Activist Saharat Sukkhamla 19 Oct convicted of lèse-majesté for speech at protest Nov 2020, sentenced to two years and granted bail. Meanwhile, parliament 25 Oct voted to reject motion proposed by Move Forward Party to hold referendum on election of Constitution Drafting Assembly.

Govt condemned killing of Thai nationals in Israel. Following outbreak of war between Israel and Hamas (see Israel-Palestine), PM Srettha Thavisin 8 Oct condemned Hamas attack, which killed 29 Thai workers and saw at least eighteen taken hostage; some 30,000 Thai nationals work in Israel.

Insurgents continued attacks across deep south. Militants 30 Sept-1 Oct attacked security outposts in eleven locations across Pattani, Narathiwat and Yala provinces, causing no casualties. In Yala province, IED 3 Oct wounded two workmen in Yaha district. In Pattani province, two motorcycle-borne gunmen 5 Oct threw IED at security post in Nongchik district, lightly injuring two soldiers. Motorcycle-borne gunmen 6 Oct shot and killed chief of Don Sai subdistrict in Mai Kaen district. In Narathiwat, militants 21 Oct staged coordinated attacks in Tak Bai district, including three separate bombings and assault on checkpoint that wounded four police officers. Deputy PM Somsak Thepsutin 12 Oct announced govt would extend emergency decree for three months from 20 Oct but lifted decree in three districts – Krong Pinang in Yala, Thung Yang Daeng in Pattani and Yi-ngo in Narathiwat.

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In The News

9 окт 2022
There’s a sense of hopelessness [in Thailand] — that there’s no way to effect any kind of real change in the available political avenues. New York Times

Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia

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Matthew Wheeler

Senior Analyst, South East Asia
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