New Mandala readers should know Thai history very well (much more than many Thais) but we hope this infographic could help newcomers to Thai political studies to understand the whole picture of Thai politics.
The chart summarizes major incidents in Thailand’s modern political history since 1992’s Black May.
We can clearly see that all seven elections to date have been battles between the Democrat Party and other opponents. The Democrats have persisted as a major candidate in every election, while its opponents have come and gone, but the Democrats won only the 1992 election. The inconvenient truth for Democrat supporters is that the party has lost five elections in row (If we don’t count the foul 2006 election, which most parties boycotted).
Evan thought the Democrat Party has lost every election since 1992, it has been able to form government twice. The first time in was in 1997, right after the Asian Financial Crisis, when the incumbent Prime Minister General Chavalit Yongchaiyudh (р╕Кр╕зр╕ер╕┤р╕Х р╕вр╕Зр╣Гр╕Ир╕вр╕╕р╕Чр╕Ш) resigned and the New Aspiration Party-led coalition was looking for a replacement PM. A group in the coalition partner Thai Citizen Party (р╕Юр╕гр╕гр╕Др╕Ыр╕гр╕░р╕Кр╕▓р╕Бр╕гр╣Др╕Чр╕в) switched their side and supported Chuan Leekpai of the Democrat Party instead. That’s how the Democrat’s gained the majority of seats in parliament and Chuan was able to serve his second term as PM. That incident was called “The Cobra Incident” (the defecting politicians, led by now fugitive Wattana Asavahame (р╕зр╕▒р╕Тр╕Щр╕▓ р╕нр╕▒р╕ир╕зр╣Ар╕лр╕б) were the “Cobra Faction”) . The man who first referred to “The Cobras” was Samak Sundaravej, then Thai Citizen Party leader and later Thai PM under the People’s Power Party.
(Note: “Cobra” is from a Thai folk story about “the farmer and the cobra” in which the cobra betrays the farmer by biting him to death. Samak compared himself as “the farmer” and Wattana’s faction to the “cobra”.)
The second time the Democrats managed to turn the tide and become the ruling party was the result of the famous “Newin Chidchob” crying moment in late 2008. This time Newin’s faction switched their support from Pheua Thai to the Democrat Party. Readers should know the rest of that story.
We can’t tell yet that who will win the upcoming general election on 3 July. It is very likely that the Democrat Party will lose its sixth election in row but there is still a chance that they can turn the tables as well. We will know by this time next week.
This article was published in Thai here.