New session of Thai parliament to convene

A new session of Thailand’s National Assembly begins today. General elections were held in March, with the country’s Election Commission

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Photo: Reuters

A new session of Thailand’s National Assembly begins today.

General elections were held in March, with the country’s Election Commission confirming the results on May 7. Polls show the incumbent civil-military Palang Pracharath Party (PPP) leading with about 38% of the vote. Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn approved 250 upper chamber members and announced the opening session on May 11.

The PPP has held power since 2019, when democratic elections were reinstated after a junta took power in 2014. The party, led by current PM and former general Prayut Chan-o-cha, is seen as a quasi-democratic extension of junta rule. Despite some internal instability, the PPP has cracked down on reform movements and holds the support of the King, effectively ensuring that it retains power. An upcoming vote on NGO monitoring is a further attempt to suppress opposition.

In the short-term, the PPP will likely retain leadership in parliament and push through a draft law monitoring NGO payments. The new law would allow for minute government investigation into NGO funding, activities and affiliates. While meant to subdue opposition, the draft law would most likely have the opposite effect, with increased but ineffective public protests against the PPP and monarchy’s semi-democratic rule and power consolidation.

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