Thailand’s 2023 general election resulted in a coalition government that left the leading party, the progressive Move Forward, in opposition. The country’s fundamental political and social divisions have not been bridged. If electoral participation continues to fall short in effecting change, people may be drawn to other means of doing so. The potential for conflict therefore remains, though it is not obvious what might trigger turmoil in the near term. In the deep south, the Patani-Malay separatist insurgency continues, while the dialogue process appears dormant. Crisis Group aims to reduce the risk of escalation in the south and limit medium-term threats to stability by supporting strengthened democratic institutions and promoting substantive peace talks.

CrisisWatch Thailand

Unchanged Situation

Criminal Court indicated former PM Thaksin on lèse-majesté charges, ethics case against PM Srettha continued, and deadly violence persisted in deep South.

Court indicted former PM Thaksin, Move Forward Party (MFP) continued to face threat of dissolution. Criminal Court 18 June indicted former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra for defaming Thai monarchy during 2015 interview with Korean newspaper; Court same day released him on 500,000 baths (or $13,600) bail and ordered him to reappear in court on 19 Aug. Amid court case about potential ban of election-winning MFP on lèse-majesté charges, former MFP leader Pita Limjaroenrat 9 June held press conference outlining party’s legal defence; Constitutional Court 18 June ordered MFP to submit deposition transcripts to court within seven days, set 3 July as date for next hearing.

Proceedings against PM Srettha Thavisin continued, senatorial elections began. Following Constitutional Court’s decision in late May to hear petition filed by 40 senators to remove PM Srettha from office on ethical grounds, court 18 June ordered individuals and agencies involved in case to submit more evidence within 15-day period, set 10 July as next hearing date. Process to select 200 senators from 20 professional and social groups began 9 June, with three rounds of intergroup polling by senate candidates at local, provincial and national levels; national-level poll concluded 26 June amid allegations of fraud, with results due on 2 July.

Violence continued in deep south. Rangers 9 June apprehended two suspected militants and 13 June discovered IED on National Highway roadside in Bannang Sata district, Yala province. In Pattani’s Nong Chik district, unknown attackers 13 June killed employee of Khor Thanyong Subdistrict Administrative Organisation as he rode his motorcycle to work. In Yala’s Bannang Sata district, suspected militants 14 June shot dead two Buddhist villagers. Gunmen 25 June killed human rights activist Roning Dolah in Yarang district, Pattani. An IED attack 27 June wounded ranger non-commissioned officer in Sri Sakhon district, Narathiwat. Militants 30 June detonated car bomb in front of police housing block in Bannang Sata district, Yala, killing one civilian and wounding 21 other people.

In another important international development. Govt 20 June submitted formal request to join BRICS, hoping to become member of group at next summit in Russia in October 2024.

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In The News

9 Tet 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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