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The no-win solution: Thai government a go-go

Thai government

Views expressed in this editorial are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of

With the Thai election now more than 2 months in the rear-view mirror, there is still no PM, no government and no easy path to the finish line.

There are now only two stark outcomes facing the Thai electorate – both unpalatable and unworkable. Both will lead to more conflict and a destabilised political landscape.

As a preamble, the Move Forward Party, who won more primary votes than any other party in the May election, have proven to be both intransigent and unappetising to the army/conservative MPs and almost the entire (hand-picked) Senate. So they’re, politically, dead in the water for now and are unlikely to be a part of any conversation to form a new government.

Off to the opposition benches they will go. Chastened, they will lick their wounds and, most likely, return stronger and wiser in the future.

Scenario One
The winner of the second highest number of primary votes, Phue Thai, will ditch Move Forward (they really have no choice now) and cosy up to their former foes, including the BhumJaiThai and Palang Pracharat parties, and form an uneasy coalition based on political expediency. A pathetic attempt of ‘solidarity’, just to do ‘something’ rather than nothing and form a government, any government.

This coalition would never work, in the same way as petrol and water don’t mix. They have completely different visions for Thailand. And with Thaksin lurking in the shadows, will lead to an eventual collision of ideas.

And Pheu Thai voters will not forgive them for this political treachery – they’ll kill off the political golden goose that has won every election since 2000 (except the May 14 election).

Scenario Two
The conservative parties, together with the Senate, vote in a minority coalition (probably with the 77 year old Prawit Wongsuwan as PM), with neither Move Forward or Pheu Thai involved. The fact these two ‘progressive’ parties, combined, have a more than healthy majority of the lower house wouldn’t matter… the elite/army/royalists would have won!

But won what?

This new sham of a government would fail at its first hurdle, a vote of confidence in the lower house of parliament. We’d end up with a new election and… we all know what will happen then: an increased majority for Move Forward, a hostile senate and an unworkable Charter from 2017, a Charter which is unable to cope with these inconvenient impasses. And perhaps intentionally so.

The legacy of the 2014 coup, and the subsequent Prayutesque quasi democracy, is more instability, more sniping, more protests and less actual legislative pot holes filled.

Whilst most of us simply won’t notice the lack of a Thai government (well, the caretaker government is still running the show technically), the current situation is a blight on the Thai smile and any hope of workable governance in the mid to long term.

Tim Newton

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