Failed Democracy in Thailand: Asia Sentinel

A bloodless coup transformed Thailand’s absolute monarchy into a constitutional system in 1932, yet the country does not enjoy full democracy today. Thailand’s elite do not trust citizens with decision-making, and there is a “reinvention of modern-day authoritarianism in the form of a triumvirate consisting of the military establishment, bureaucratic elite and business conglomerates,” explains Pithaya Pookaman for Asia Sentinel. “The politicians, even those allied with the authoritarian regime, only manage to play a second fiddle in the new political order.” The military has been in power since a 2014 coup. Today’s political order and the aspirations for eliminating oligarchy and incompetence have changed little from those in 1932, and Pookaman explains how the current regime removes artifacts and symbolism related to that revolution. The country held an election in 2019 with no clear winner, and Prayut Chan-o-cha who led the military junta that took charge in 2014 serves as prime minister. Thailand’s struggle is between authoritarian and democratic forces – not between rich and poor, young and old, conservatives and liberals, or urban and rural areas. Support for democracy requires political will and tireless organization. – YaleGlobal

Failed Democracy in Thailand: Asia Sentinel

Thailand’s democratic forces have long battled an authoritarian triumvirate of the military, bureaucrats and big businesses that have a lock on politics
Pithaya Pookaman
Friday, July 3, 2020

Read the article from Asia Sentinel about democracy in Thailand.

Pithaya Pookaman is a retired Thai ambassador and a regular contributor to Asia Sentinel. He lives in Bangkok.


Thailand  Ranks among world’s top 25 economies GDP per capita:  $7,300 Population: 69 million Median age: 39 2019 election: No party won a majority  Prayut Chan-o-cha is prime minister $7,300
(Source: World Bank and CIA World Factbook)

World map showing Thailand as flawed democracy
Thailand is identified as a flawed democracy in 2019, an imporvement from being labeled as a "hybrid regime" in 2018 (Source: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2019)

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