With the assistance of a military coup, two party dissolutions, a new constitution, an activist judiciary, royal backing, an ultra-nationalist crisis, six months of escalating street provocation, military insubordination, and an economically disastrous airport shutdown, the Democrat Party now seems to be within striking distance of forming Thailand’s next government.

Good luck to them.

Their path to government has been anything but honourable, but the ultimate decision will be made by parliament. If the Democrat Party can muster the numbers in parliament, they have a right to form government. Those who have defected from the government side will have to face their respective electorates eventually and the voters will be able to make a judgement about their motives and their actions (and any incentives they may have received).

Up until then the Pheua Thai/UDD forces would do well to play the part of a suitably outraged, vigorous and constructive opposition. Some well attended rallies of red shirts would provide a suitable forum for the expression of anger at the Democrat Party’s opportunistic path to government. If the rallies are orderly then the Pheua Thai backers can maintain the hold they have on the high moral ground that has been so comprehensively abandoned by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD).

The strategists in Pheua Thai probably fancy their chances against the Democrats in a general election. Given the likely fragility of a Democrat majority, and the fluidity of party allegiances, an electoral contest may well come sooner rather than later.

But all bets will be off if the Democrats move down the “new politics” path laid down by the PAD. Any attempt to move towards an appointed, rather than elected, parliament, will surely be vigorously resisted by parliamentary and non-parliamentary means. Let’s see if the Democrats can live up to their name.