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

  • PM to vet NY holiday dates

    The Ministry of Economy and Finance submitted a letter to Prime Minister Hun Sen asking him to formally set a five-day national holiday from August 17-21 to make up for the Khmer New Year holiday in April that was postponed. Finance minister Aun Pornmoniroth sent

  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea