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  • OPINION

    Thailand's inevitable political endgame

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 22/11/2019

    » While the conviction this week of Future Forward Party (FFP) leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit seemed to be in the making ever since the Election Commission took up the charge last May, it was still astonishing when it transpired. In an all too familiar scene, the Constitutional Court ruled that a leader of yet another leading political party which has stood against military coups and the generals' role in politics is guilty of violating an election-related law, this one banning MP candidates from owning shares in a media company. As the verdict strips Mr Thanathorn of his MP status, several implications seem clear.

  • OPINION

    Prime Minister Prayut's huge little gaffe

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 09/08/2019

    » While Thailand's flawed 2017 constitution was bound to run into a fundamental dispute at some point, the sudden and brewing charter crisis facing the government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha stems from an unlikely source. During the oath-taking ceremony presided over by Their Majesties on July 16, the Gen Prayut-led cabinet somehow omitted one-third of a statement which was mandated to be read aloud before officially taking office. What should have been a routine constitutional ritual has become a procedural gaffe that has captured national attention, putting government stability at risk and the prime minister's political longevity in doubt.

  • OPINION

    TRC dissolution turns up political heat

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 08/03/2019

    » It is deja vu all over again in Thai politics. Another political party aligned to Thaksin Shinawatra, an ousted, self-exiled and convicted former prime minister, found its way to the Constitutional Court where it was dissolved in short order for "opposing the democratic system with the King as head of state".

  • OPINION

    Royal command sets a new balance

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 11/02/2019

    » Thailand's political earthquake last Friday has caught observers at home and abroad off guard. Within half a day, Thai politics went through an unprecedented political roller coaster. It all ended with a press release from the royal palace at night, effectively reversing what had taken place in the morning.

  • OPINION

    Myanmar needs new generation to lead it

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 10/08/2018

    » Southeast Asia suffers from a crisis of leadership whereby the old guard are unwilling to make way for new and younger leaders to emerge through compromise and accommodation to usher in change and reform while maintaining a measure of continuity.

  • OPINION

    Elections, corruption and Thai democracy

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 16/02/2018

    » People at home and abroad are calling for elections in Thailand on the premise of returning democracy to a country that has been under nearly four years of military government. But elections cannot bring genuine democracy if blatant corruption rears its head in open daylight with utter impunity. No doubt elections will be needed to get rid of the current set of military rulers but democracy in Thailand requires the strengthening of its democratic institutions that are so shoddy and woeful.

  • OPINION

    Asean regionalism amid authoritarianism

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 05/08/2017

    » If three Asean members -- Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines -- have led the way in shedding their authoritarian past, three others -- Thailand, Cambodia and Malaysia --have gone the other way. After 50 years of ups and downs in domestic politics and governance, Asean has seen a resurgence of authoritarian practices. How this trend is manifested, and whether it intensifies or reverts to more democratic characteristics, will determine how Asean's regionalism takes shape over the next few decades.

  • OPINION

    Thailand lags as Myanmar gains ground

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 22/04/2016

    » Few next-door neighbours have moved so far in an opposite political direction than Thailand and Myanmar, also known as Burma. After more than half a century of military dictatorship from 1962, Myanmar has returned to democratic rule with a free and fair election last November and now a civilian-led government under Aung San Suu Kyi and her National League for Democracy (NLD) party.

  • OPINION

    Tales of development in Southeast Asia

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 11/04/2014

    » A popular development story in Asia features Myanmar, the Philippines, South Korea and Thailand. Back in 1960, their economic bases were roughly on par, their development prospects uncertain. Mixed fortunes awaited them as they scaled contrasting trajectories owing to a combination of leadership, economic planning, external challenges and varying luck. More than five decades on, they have ended up in different destinations that are instructive for struggling democracies in the region and elsewhere.

  • OPINION

    Charter ruling shows political progress

    News, Thitinan Pongsudhirak, Published on 22/11/2013

    » The Constitution Court's ruling this week to reject parliament's draft charter amendment to change the Senate from a roughly half-appointed to a fully elected chamber marks another crucial juncture in Thailand's grinding political transformation.

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