After a coup, a new constitution and a controversial election, Thailand’s political future remains as uncertain as ever. The general election in March, the first since the 2014 coup, was marred by allegations of irregularities and the election commission will not announce the final results until May. In the meantime, the commission has brought sedition charges against the leader of a pro-democracy party that did better than expected in the election.
Thailand is stuck in a protracted seesaw between democracy and military rule. How will the final election results affect this balance? What role, if any, will King Vajiralongkorn play in determining Thailand’s future trajectory after his coronation in May? And how will the political impasse impact Thailand’s chairmanship of ASEAN this year?
Join leading Thai political scientist Professor Thitinan Pongsudhirak and Director of Lowy Institute’s Southeast Asia Project Ben Bland for a discussion on what happens next in one of Southeast Asia’s most volatile nations.
Thitinan Pongsudhirak is Director of the Institute of Security and International Studies and Associate Professor of International Political Economy at the Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok.
Sarah Bishop is a PhD candidate within the ANU College of Law undertaking research on Thai Constitutional Law focusing on court interpretation of constitutional rights provisions. Sarah's primary area of research interest is Asian law, with a particular focus on Thai public law. Her previous research has focused on areas in which the country's newly established public law courts have been particularly active―political party regulation and environmental regulation.
Ben Bland is the director of the Southeast Asia Project at the Lowy Institute, Australia’s leading international think-tank. He sets the Institute’s research agenda for this important region, commissioning analysis papers and organising programs of events and visiting fellows.
Thitinan’s visit to Australia is part of the ASEAN–Australia Visiting Fellows Program at the Lowy Institute, which is supported by the Australian Government through the Australia–ASEAN Council of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.