Thailand

Expert Voices

Chaotic elections bring little stability to Thailand

Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha casting his vote.
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at his Bangkok polling station on March 24. Photo: Anusak Laowilas/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Defying poor pre-election polling, Palang Pracharat, the Thai army's proxy party, performed well in this past weekend's elections, the country's first since 2011. However, its success came amid low turnout, claims of widespread fraud and irregularities, and repeated bungling of results by Thailand's Election Commission.

Why it matters: Thailand, a U.S. treaty ally, is now likely to remain alone among middle- and upper-income countries as a place where the armed forces wield dominant power, leaving it in league with poorer and more fragile states like Egypt, Pakistan and Mauritania.

Thailand: Generals vs. populists at the polls

Thailand Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha
Thai Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha. Photo: Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images

Thailand’s election season has featured generals, populists, royals — and a wildly uneven playing field.

The big picture: The ruling military junta, led by Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, overthrew a democratically elected government in 2014. The generals will try their luck at the polls on Sunday, albeit after bringing in a new constitution that means they’re likely to win even if they lose.