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(June 7, 2019) What went wrong for the Democrats? - Thitinan Pongsudhirak

 It is hard to believe today that Thailand's Democrat Party was widely worth rooting for not so long ago. In past eras of military-authoritarianism, Democrat MPs used to be seen as a force for good, pitted against ruling generals in support of popular rule. Somehow during the current military regime that dates back to the September 2006 coup, Thailand's oldest party has tilted away from democracy towards authoritarianism. But just as the party is demoralised and in disarray, it offers a silver lining in new and fresh faces that could offer a way forward if party elders are willing to step aside.

While its record in the 1940s-80s was mixed, alternately fighting as a conservative political force and for a more open political space against dictatorship, the Democrat Party had come into its own by the early 1990s, heralding its heyday decade. It formed two governments that crucially mattered, the first to leave a brutal military dictatorship behind, the latter to salvage what was left of Thailand's economy after nearly a decade of mismanagement and corruption.