See More on Facebook

Analysis, Politics

Thai junta postpones election but for a reason

The rejection by Thailand’s military government of seven proposed election commissioners is the latest set back for Thailand’s return to democracy.


Written by

Updated: February 23, 2018

Since it came to power in 2014, Thailand’s ruling junta has asked for understanding and patience from the populace as it tried to revive a stagnating economy and put to bed ten years of political turmoil.

A substantial proportion of the electorate seemed willing to give the junta a chance, after all, sporadic street protests since 2005 had stagnated ASEAN’s second largest economy and a political impasse had left the majority of people disillusioned with parliamentary proceedings.

Led by junta-chief Prayuth Chan-ocha and a cabinet of mostly generals, the military originally promised to stay in power for a little over a year.

Now, four years later, with a sluggish economy and no clear date on elections, a once understanding population is quickly growing impatient.

The junta has postponed elections at least five times for a variety of reasons from a poor security situation to the need to draft a new constitution.

But each time the military pushes back on polls, analysts say that more Thais flock to anti-junta protests which have been sporadic, and indeed made illegal by the government, but has steadily been growing for the past two years.

Despite the threat of arrests, a anti-junta protest in Bangkok in early February drew a crowd of several hundred people, the largest protests since the military took power.

The latest setback

On February 22, the junta’s rubber-stamp parliament voted to reject all seven proposed election commissioners over their lack of credibility with the public. Election Commissioners are the logistical and legal organizers of any election under the Thai constitution.

Parliament president Pornpetch Wichitcholchai maintained that the roadmap to the election remained unaffected despite the rejection of all the candidates, according to the Nation Newspaper.

A parliament source told the Nation that the rejection followed concern of legislators that the controversial initial selection process might have damaged public confidence in the new EC and more problems might ensue. The move was viewed as another attempt to prolong the holdovert power of the junta and delay the promised election.

A lack of trust

While Pornpetch tried to reassure the public that elections may be on course, it is the latest in a series of statements by the junta that have amounted to nothing.

At each postponement of polls, someone within the military government will come out to say that the ‘roadmap’ to election remains on course before going on to say that logistics of (insert constitution amendment, security situation, legal frameworks) means that polls will be pushed back.

The junta had made a similar statement as recently as January when it said that clauses within election laws that it had drafted meant that elections would more likely happen in 2019 than the November 2018 polls which had been promised.

A reason why

While the constant postponement might be frustrating for the public and fueling anti-junta sentiment, longtime political analysts within Thailand say that there is an explanation for the junta’s feet-dragging.

The junta has made no efforts to hide that it wants to influence power even after democracy is restored. The constitution the coup makers drafted guarantees that the upper house of the legislative body, the senate, is appointed by the military. The constitution also guarantees a seat on the senate for heads of all the armed forces.

Under the constitution, the senate has also been reinforced and given more power in a bid to curtail the power of the elected lower house.

Members of the coup government have also formed groups to explore starting a political party with the ultimate aim of maintaining military influence over parliamentary proceedings.

In addition to starting their own political party, sources say that the military has made contact with existing political parties to form a coalition government that could see coup-leader Prayuth Chan-ocha extending his tenure as prime minister.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


Cod Satrusayang
About the Author: Cod Satrusayang is the Managing Editor at Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Analysis, Politics

Growing disaster risks exceed Asia-Pacific’‬s capacity to respond

This according to a UN Escap finding. The relentless sequence of natural disasters in Asia and the Pacific in the past two years was beyond what the region had previously experienced or was able to predict, and this is a sign of things to come in a new climate reality, according to the latest report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap)‭. The Disaster Riskscape across Asia-Pacific The ‭Asia-Pacific ‭ ‬Disaster ‭ ‬Report 2019‭ released in Bangkok on Thursday reveals that recent disasters, especially ‬‬those ‭‬triggered by ‭ ‬climate ‭‬change ‭‬and environmental ‭‬degradation, ‭‬have deviated from their usual tracks and are growing in intensity, frequency and complexity. It is now more difficult to determine which areas should


By The Nation (Thailand)
August 23, 2019

Analysis, Politics

West Papua and its troubled history with Indonesia

Recent riots and protests are just symptoms of long simmering ethnic tensions. Protests have broken out in the Indonesian province of West Papua with a local parliament being set alight and buildings torched in Sorong, the province’s largest city. The protests, involving hundreds of people, occurred throughout the province on Wednesday with buildings set on fire, including a prison where 250 inmates escaped, and rocks and projectiles thrown at security forces. The protests erupted, in part, because of the detention of ethnic Papuan students in the Indonesian city of Surabaya over accusations that they had desecrated the Indonesian flag on its national day. But long running ethnic tensions between the native West Papuans and the Indonesian central government have plagued the province since it was incorporated into Indonesia in the 1960s. A colonial legacy After the


By Cod Satrusayang
August 23, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Fresh clashes in Hong Kong protests

Hong Kong protesters clash with police, angry at lack of prosecutions after July subway mob attack. Thousands of jeering Hong Kong residents held a raucous anti-government protest on Wednesday (Aug 21) at a suburban subway station that was attacked by a mob last month, angry that nobody has yet been prosecuted for the violence. Some masked protesters clashed with police in the sub-tropical heat, spraying fire extinguishers from the inside of Yuen Long station as others smeared the floor with cooking oil to stop the police advancing. Some demonstrators blocked station exits and sealed roads outside the station, aiming green laser beams at the lines of shield-bearing officers. Others threw empty fire extinguishers at police lines from overpasses. It was the latest in a series of demonstrations, which have sometimes turned violent, since June against a perceived erosion


By The Straits Times
August 22, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Japan believes N. Korea has already developed nuclear warheads

All of Japan is within range of Pyongyang’s ballistic missiles. According to the original version of the Japanese government’s 2019 white paper on defense, North Korea is believed to have already achieved the miniaturization of nuclear weapons and the development of nuclear warheads, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned. This is the first time such statements have been included in the report. Regarding South Korea, which is intensifying its confrontation with Japan, the report lowered that nation’s ranking from the previous year among the countries and regions that are promoting security cooperation with Japan. The Japanese government is making arrangements to approve the 2019 white paper at a Cabinet meeting in mid-September. On North Korea’s military moves, the paper again said they posed a “serious and imminent threat.” The 2018 version of the report said there was a “possi


By The Japan News
August 22, 2019

Analysis, Politics

The rise of the militant Islamic State affiliate in Afghanistan

Is ISIS on the comeback and rising in Afghanistan. A suicide bombing at a wedding party in Kabul claimed by a local affiliate of the militant Islamic State (IS) group has renewed fears about the growing threat posed by its thousands of fighters, as well as their ability to plot global attacks from a stronghold in the forbidding mountains of northeastern Afghanistan. The attack came as the Afghan Taliban appear to be nearing a deal with the United States to end nearly 18 years of fighting. Now Washington hopes the Afghan Taliban can help rein in IS fighters, even as some worry that Taliban fighters, disenchanted by a peace deal, could join IS. The US envoy in talks with the Afghan Taliban, Zalmay Khalilzad, says the peace process must be accelerated to put Afghanistan in a “much stronger position to defe


By Dawn
August 20, 2019

Analysis, Politics

Nearly two million rally peacefully in Hong Kong

Government says while rally is generally peaceful, traffic disrupted. Protesters gathered at the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Forces Hong Kong Building in Central, as well as the Central Government Complex next to it on Sunday night (Aug 18). This followed an earlier peaceful march from Victoria Park in Causeway Bay to Chater Garden in Central despite a police ban. Some protesters, however, turned their laser pointers on the government offices. Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters lingered on Harcourt Road, prompting police to issue a warning for them to disperse. The police said the protesters had “shot hard objects at the Central Government Complex with slingshots and aimed laser beams at police officers”, posing a safety threat. Protesters there briefly surrounded a mainland Chinese man and questioned his identity after he was spotted trying


By The Straits Times
August 19, 2019