Thailand: The New Democracy Movement

Image Credit: Khaosod English

Image Credit: Khaosod English

Thailand has a rich history civil resistance and protests, used both for and against democratic ends.

Thailand is currently governed by the National Peace and Order Committee (NPOC), a military junta in power since a coup in 2014. The coup took place in reaction to competing mass street demonstrations for and against the democratically elected and controversial Yingluck Shinawatra.

The military junta immediately suspended the 2007 Constitution and began to prosecute dissidents. Most recently, it held a referendum on a new constitution, which was approved by 61% of Thais after a campaign marred by harassment and arrests for 'no' campaigners. A civil society network attempted to monitor the vote, in spite of government obstruction.

Elections have been promised for 2017, though it remains to be seen how activists and civil society will react to the referendum and whether the military junta will allow for democratic institutions to regain their role in Thai politics.

The New Democracy Movement is an anti-junta group, mainly composed of students and activists unaffiliated with Thailand's traditional political parties. 

 

Further Reading:

After Constitution, What Next for Thailand? The Diplomat. 11 August 2016.
An explanation on Thailand's roadmap from the referendum to possible elections. 

Thai referendum: Why Thais backed a military-backed constitution. BBC News. 9 August 2016. 
Explanation of nuances behind the referendum for the new constitution in spite of its undemocratic nature.

Student activists and the referendum: The pebble in the boot. Prachatai. 5 August 2016.
Article on various student groups standing against the coup. 

Thai Political Parties Oppose Draft Constitution. VOA Asia. 11 April 2016.
Details of the differences between the major political parties and their views on the new constitution. 

New Democracy Movement: Achievements and future. Prachatai. 6 September 2016. 
A review of the activities of the NDM over the last year and their place in Thai politics. 

Thailand: Poking the TIger. The Diplomat. 28 October 2015. 
Looking at the challenges and limitations that the NDM faces in being the main opposition force.