Thailand’s May 14 general election resulted in a surprise victory for the upstart Move Forward Party. Led by 42-year-old businessman Pita Limjaroenrat, the MFP outperformed the favored Pheu Thai Party (PTP), the current political avatar of exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Notably, both the MFP and PTP won significantly more support than the main military-backed establishment parties. The MFP, PTP, and six other parties have since joined hands in a progressive coalition, but with the military dominating the Senate, and Pita now facing an election probe, it’s too early to crown the MFP Thailand’s next ruling party.
What does the election tell us about the state of Thai politics? What are the prospects for true democratic governance, without military interference? And where does the country go from here?
Featuring Aim Sinpeng, a senior lecturer in Comparative Politics in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney; Pavin Chachavalpongpun, an associate professor at the Center for Southeast Asian Studies at Kyoto University; and Gregory Raymond, a lecturer in the Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs researching Southeast Asian politics and foreign relations. Moderated by Sebastian Strangio, Southeast Asia editor at The Diplomat.