Thai politics

Pheu Thai wins Thailand election: news round-up

2011 07 04 thai elex papers

Some stories that have caught my eye today:

The Economist says that the result is “a smack in the face for the army chief, General Prayuth Chan-ocha, who urged voters on June 14th not to elect “the same people” to run the country and lambasted the red shirts as anti-monarchists.” And:

It is hard to see how General Prayuth, who commanded troops in the 2006 coup, could get along with a PT-led government that includes abrasive red-shirt leaders such as Nattawut Saikua, who has been charged with terrorism. But Phongthep Thepkanjana, an adviser to the party and a former minister, brushes off the implied threat. General Prayuth “is one in 65m”, he says. The election result “is the resolution of the people.”

The New York Times notes that the election “could turn Thai politics on its head and roll back the results of a coup that ousted Mr. Thaksin almost five years ago.” And:

“This is a slap in the face to the establishment for what they’ve done since the military coup in 2006,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, director of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University. “This is a new Thailand that they must learn to live with.”

He added: “This whole election is all about the awakened voices. These people discovered that they can actually have access and be connected to the system.”

An editorial in the WSJ argues that mass politics has arrived in Thailand, and “robust institutions” are needed:

As this election showed, Thailand has irrevocably reached the stage where it will be governed by mass parties. Creating the checks and balances to manage that political competition has become the most urgent task.

And on the WSJ’s Exchange blog, financial analysts comment on the election’s potential implications. From the intro:

In the run-up to the election, investors dumped Thai shares, but according to some early indicators, sentiment is positive. The benchmark SET index is up more than 3% at Monday’s open, the baht is surging and spreads on Thai credit default swaps are tighter.

Elsewhere, the Nation provides this graphic detailing the breakdown of the vote. Red is Pheu Thai, and blue is for the Democrat Party.

2011 07 04 nation graphic

Graphic: Nation, via @Mr_Pradit on Twitpic.

Image at top of post: A pic of today’s WSJ and IHT front pages.

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