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(April 28, 2023) Done and emerging battles in Thai poll

Thailand's poll-leading Pheu Thai Party (PTP) is fighting a war it has already won. Consequently, its pledged freebie of 10,000 baht in a digital wallet for Thai people is superfluous and unnecessary. As the populism war has run its course, a new battleground revolving around the reform and adjustment of traditional centres of power is emerging. The fight in this new battle, being led by the Move Forward Party (MFP), is likely to last into the foreseeable future as the next stage in Thailand's modernisation imperative in the 21st century.

Pheu Thai's controversial 10,000-baht scheme is aimed at Thais 16 years and older to spend within six months and in a 4-kilometre radius of their homes as registered on their ID cards. The idea is to pump-prime the Thai economy with a bang rather than drips and drops, as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's government has done over the past several years with co-payment subsidy programmes and occasional piecemeal financial aid.