Thailand. In January, around 700 Thais were evacuated from Cambodia since Thai anti-aircraft riots erupted there. A number of Thai companies were vandalized at an estimated cost of up to SEK 200 million. According to Countryaah.com, Thailand Independence Day is December 5. The reason for the Cambodians’ anger towards the neighboring country was a Thai actor’s careless statement that the Cambodian national clan, the Angkor Vat Temple, was actually Thai.
On February 1, a drastic campaign against drug trafficking began. Police received criticism from human rights groups and foreign governments for their hard-fought suspects, but the government received strong popular support for the campaign, despite the fact that well over 2,000 people were killed in the first three months. Police claimed it shot dead 42 people, but only in self-defense, and said the rest of the deaths occurred through settlements in drug parades to prevent stating. The campaign was officially ended May 1, but continued for the rest of the year in more discreet forms.
In October, a two-month campaign was announced to eradicate other socially malicious phenomena, such as drug addiction, organized crime and poverty. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra was supported for his populist policies by a series of reports on Thailand’s strong economic development. The government’s economic policy, often called “thaksinomics”, aimed at pumping billions into rural areas through, among other things, housing construction and debt relief for the farmers, combined with low interest rates, has increased consumption significantly. Exports also performed well during the year and economic growth was over 5%. In November, the prime minister was confident enough of his position to reshape the government.
Thaksin’s own party Thai straight Thai (Thais love Thais) strengthened its dominance after the Party of Chart Pattana (National Development Party) was forced to leave the government. The Prime Minister said that the coalition partner has not acted sufficiently forcefully.
The military coup in 2014
The government was now paralyzed. The demonstrations continued and the red shirts, which had remained largely in the background throughout the period, began to mobilize. Night to May 20 at three o’clock at night, the Thai army imposed military emergency. The government was not informed of the state of emergency before it came into force, but Army commander General Prayut Chan-o-cha emphasized that he had not carried out a coup.
For two days, the army facilitated negotiations between the various parties to the political conflict. When these did not come to an agreement, General Prayut interrupted the meeting and declared that he was taking power through the military coup. The junta canceled the constitution and created a National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to govern the country. King Bhumibol’s ill health and the desire to control a possible imminent change of throne was also a motivating factor for the coup makers.
In the days that followed, over 300 politicians (including Yingluck), political activists, journalists, academics and intellectuals were questioned or arrested. Strict media censorship and restrictions on freedom of expression were also introduced.
Elections in 2019
The military junta began the work of writing a new constitution and Prayut appointed himself prime minister. All political activity was banned, but it was announced several times that elections would be held. The election was finally set for March 24, 2019. A new party, Phalang Pracharat, was formed to support the military. This party appointed Prayut as its prime ministerial candidate and hoped to receive support from the Senate’s 250 senators, who, under the new laws, would now be appointed by the military instead of being elected. An important support party for Phua Thai was disqualified by the Election Commission shortly before the election. However, the election results turned out to be very even between Phuea Thai and Phalang Pracharat. Phalang Pracharat got the most votes, but Phuea Thai got the most seats in parliament and quickly went out, with alliance partners, and demanded the right to form government. The alliance against the military-backed party was able to gain 255 out of 500 parliamentary seats. The Election Commission responded that the final election result would not be announced until May 9, four days after the coronation of King Vajiralongkorn. Several irregularities in the election should be considered first. The Election Commission faced massive criticism both during the implementation and after the election.