Southeast Asia: Thailand’s Uneasy Passage

Issue Date April 2012
Volume 23
Issue 2
Page Numbers 47-61
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In 2011, Thais reelected a party backed by deposed prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. Although Thaksin himself was banned from actually appearing on the ballot, he emerged as the big winner when a new electoral vehicle known as the Pheu Thai Party (PTP, or “For Thais”) gained a decisive victory with his younger sister Yingluck at its head. As of early 2012, however, no other reformist groups or individuals had appeared on the scene possessing anything like what it will take to reconcile monarchy and democracy in Thailand. All the same, however, it appears that Thailand cannot escape the challenge of reaching a new consensus that will root the monarchy more squarely within the constitution of an emerging democracy, but in a way that reconciles conservative royalists.