Thai politics

Yingluck, the army, and a “grand bargain”?

The Wall Street Journal points out that:

With Ms. Yingluck leading opinion polls, analysts said the key question is whether Thailand’s conservative armed forces will accept an outcome that places the youngest sister of exiled populist billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra—a former prime minister whom the army ousted in a coup five years ago—in Thailand’s top job.

And there’s this, later in the piece:

“Mr. Thaksin is pursuing a dual strategy,” Marc Saxer, Bangkok-based director of Germany’s Friedrich Ebert Foundation wrote in a research paper this week. “Puea Thai is supposed to collect the necessary political capital with a victory in the elections, with a view to prepare a ‘Grand Bargain’ with the traditional elites afterwards.”

The idea that Thaksin and members of the Thai establishment have reached a compromise about what happens after the election — assuming Puea Thai wins and is able to form a government — has been much discussed here in Bangkok in recent days.

Today’s Bangkok Post says:

Pheu Thai party list MP Wattana Muangsuk has dismissed a news report that he struck a deal with Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon to allow the party to form the next government without fear of opposition from the military.

And elsewhere, Wassana Nanuam, who covers the military, writes:

So, it came as no surprise when a news report emerged that Thaksin had sent Wattana Muangsuk, a former commerce minister in the Thaksin administration, to meet with Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon in Brunei in February.

(All emphasis mine.)

Stay tuned.

By the way, a programming note: I will continue blogging — and posting to Twitter — through Sunday’s election.

Future posts will cover news as it emerges, as well as a summary of resources for following the vote online.

In the meantime, Thailand watchers: What do you think about the state of play? Email me: newley AT gmail DOT COM to share your thoughts.

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