Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Thai ‘jigsaw of alliances’ form ahead of election




Thai ‘jigsaw of alliances’ form ahead of election

Thai ‘jigsaw of alliances’ form ahead of election

Famous golfer Thongchai Jaidee, a former beauty queen and veteran politicians were among those who flocked to new parties in Thailand on Sunday as a jigsaw of alliances formed ahead of the country’s much-anticipated poll in February.

The Thai junta that seized power in 2014 partially eased restrictions on electioneering ahead of the promised vote, allowing parties to spring up and recruit members but withholding the right to campaign.

The deadline to join and be eligible to run closes later this month and on Sunday saw a flurry of activity as the closing date nears.

Golfing great Thongchai, 49, added some star power to Thai Raksa Chart, which formed in recent weeks and is believed to be a spin-off of the country’s largest political party Pheu Thai.

The army toppled the Pheu Thai-led administration of Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014.

But parties associated with Yingluck and her brother Thaksin – another former premier toppled in 2006 – have won every election since 2001 by relying on populist policies.

“In the beginning, I want to help. And I will see in the future what more I can do,” Thongchai said at a recruitment drive for Thai Raksa Chart in Bangkok, adding that he was still on tour and did not have time to run as a candidate right now.

Nahatai Lekbumrung, the 2006 Miss Global Beauty Queen competition winner, also signed up to Thai Raksa Chart.

Meanwhile the party Palang Pracharat, believed to be a military proxy, attracted some 50 former MPs to join its ranks on the same day.

Another new party, Prachachart, is being led by veteran politician Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, who has held cabinet posts in several governments.

He said his party will focus on multi-culturalism.

“Violence in the south is not a problem for [just one] particular area,” he said, referring to years-long clashes between Muslim Malay insurgents and security forces loyal to the Buddhist majority state.

“To solve this, we have to get rid of the distrust among people.”

Joining him were figures with longstanding ties to the police, army and border forces.

The 2017 military-drafted constitution makes it difficult for any one party to win a majority in elections, making the jumble of alliances key to shoring up support.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last