The recent announcement by a key leader of the Future Forward Party (FFP) that he would not press the issue of amending the l?se majest? law in the new party, has sparked a political debate on whether the politician is making a strategic move or retreating from his liberal stance. The newly-established FFP has continued to incite controversy after Piyabutr Saengkanokkul, one of the party’s most prominent members, announced on Facebook that he would not use the new party as a political tool to amend Article 112 of the Criminal Code, the l?se majest? law
The newly established Future Forward Party (FFP) has been heavily criticised for its lack of political experience, and its left-leaning orientation, with lots of talk of a social welfare state and inclusive society. On 15 March 2018, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, Executive Vice President of the Thai Summit Group, hosted a press conference to launch a new party, Anakhot Mai, literally translated as ‘new future’, but whose official English name is the Future Forward Party.
Red shirts-turned-royalists, anti-election leaders, “moral politics” supporters, an ex-junta official and an anti-lèse majesté academic have all revealed their intention to participate in the upcoming election. And this is just the beginning. 2 February was the first day of registration for new political parties, with over 40 registered at the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT). But will these new parties lead to new choices for the people?
During the past four years, the junta has added many terms to the dictionary of Thai politics. Examples are Pracharat, Thai-ism democracy, attitude adjustment and etc. Prachatai talked to Petra Desatova, a PhD candidate from Leeds University, Her PhD thesis examines the attempt of the junta to rebrand Thailand. She argues that these terms are not merely a play on words, a systematic attempt to strengthen its authoritarian regime
As the general election is scheduled less than one year from now, people are wondering whether the Thai junta will allow more freedom of association and assembly ahead of the election campaigns. We saw mixed signals last week. Meanwhile, a legal adviser to the junta has suggested ways to amend the election law, which may result in the postponement of the election.
Though no Thai government has ever conducted a formal survey, UNAIDS estimated in 2014 that some 123,530 sex workers operated in Thailand, with the sex industry contributing 10 per cent of the revenue that the country generates from tourism. Another study in 2003 estimated that Thailand’s sex industry generates an annual US$4.3 billion dollars. While the sex industry is evidently a pillar of the country’s economy and touches the lives of a great number of people, sex work remains outlawed in Thailand.
Almost three years after the disappearance of Billy, the ethnic minority activist, the lives of the Karen in Kaeng Krachan remain in trouble, facing intimidation, drought and displacement.
While the ruling junta is showing its commitment to human rights principle at the UN’s ICCPR review in Geneva, NGO workers said the such superficial commitment is just to avoid further humiliation from international communities. Between 13 and 14 March 2016, Thailand sent 46 delegates to attend the second periodic report on implementation of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
Throughout modern Thailand’s history, Royal Anthem videos have played a significant role in transforming the foundations of royal legitimacy. While the palace previously emphasised the King’s commitment to his duties as ‘Father of the Land’, anthem videos now push the Thai people’s duty to love the monarchy as ‘good children’.
In the aftermath of the 7 August referendum, junta supporters have strategically initiated efforts to ensure that Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, the current junta head, will be Thailand’s next ‘outsider’ Prime Minister.