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(August 11, 2023) The continuing crisis of Thai democracy

The prolonged volatility and instability in Thai politics attest to a continuing crisis of democracy since the military coup in September 2006. It is characterised by the nature, direction and duration of government after an election. Unless the poll-topping political party is backed by the conservative military-authoritarian regime, it is either not allowed to take power or gets overthrown while in office before completing its term. This crisis of Thai democracy has now persisted since the May 14 poll, as the formation of the next government remains stuck in a stalemate.

After the February 2005 election returned the Thai Rak Thai Party -- under then-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, in a landslide victory -- to become the first elected banner to complete a four-year term, win re-election, and run a one-party government, it was ousted in a coup 19 months later. The next elected government, also aligned with Thaksin, lasted less than a year, as the ruling Palang Prachachon (People's Power) Party was dissolved by the Constitutional Court in December 2008.