Thailand’s ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) will meet in Bangkok today to announce the date for internal elections. The elections
Thailand’s ruling Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP) will meet in Bangkok today to announce the date for internal elections.
The elections arrive in the wake of months of withering criticism from opposition parties. Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha’s regime—within which the PPRP is the most represented party—is accused of instituting an excessively punitive lockdown and failing to distribute economic aid to millions of citizens. The resultant public backlash prompted protest resignations from 18 PPRP executives on June 1, forcing leadership to plan for new elections.
Former general and party strategist Prawit Wongsuwan is expected to ascend to the PPRP’s chairmanship. While this outcome will not alter official economic policy, the party will likely portray the elections as a necessary house-cleaning after many tumultuous months, setting the stage for a cabinet reshuffling later in June. The promotion will also placate internal party factions who are dissatisfied with the aloof style of the current administration and consolidate military control over parliamentary policymaking. With Thailand’s tourism and export-reliant economy set to suffer in the wake of COVID-19, a changing of the guard could strengthen cohesion within a government faced with formidable challenges in the months ahead.
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