The Rules Change but the Players Don't: Factional Politics and Thailand's March 2019 Elections
- Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 41, Number 3, December 2019
- pp. 390-417
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Thailand's March 2019 elections were the first polls to be held after five years of direct military rule under General Prayut Chan-ocha. Although the 2017 Constitution introduced many new provisions which aimed to change the country's political landscape, especially the political party system, its impacts appear limited as the 2019 electoral outcomes suggest that party politics in Thailand continue to involve the same set of players. Old-style factional politics have survived, particularly in the military-backed Palang Pracharat party, which houses multiple factions, including defectors from Pheu Thai. Focusing on the relationship between Palang Pracharat and its factions, this article argues that the 2017 Constitution failed to achieve many of its goals. Internal party politics within Palang Pracharat resemble those of past political parties, wherein factions prevail and sharp infighting over cabinet seats continue.