Green in the Heart of Red: Understanding Phayao Province's Switch to Palang Pracharat in Thailand's 2019 General Election
- Contemporary Southeast Asia: A Journal of International and Strategic Affairs
- ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
- Volume 42, Number 3, December 2020
- pp. 398-424
- Additional Information
What explains the loss of support for Pheu Thai in the March 2019 general election in Thailand? Based on 234 semi-structured interviews with voters in the province of Phayao in northern Thailand, this article explores the military's efforts to undermine popular support for Pheu Thai. Phayao is an illuminating case because it surprisingly switched to the military's party, Palang Pracharat, in the 2019 election despite having voted for Pheu Thai and its predecessor parties in the previous six elections. The article finds that although Phayao voters still feel a strong sense of loyalty towards Pheu Thai, a combination of three factors—Palang Pracharat's policy adaptations, voters' practical considerations and voters' personal ties with individual candidates—eventually led them to switch their support to Palang Pracharat. Nevertheless, the deeply-ingrained partisanship for Pheu Thai among voters suggest that this party will likely remain a formidable force in Thai politics for the foreseeable future.