The nightmare was thus put to an end and the princess withdrew her candidature.
This short episode proves that the internal power struggle in Thailand and the division of the country, which the military government, by its own admission, wanted to finish, still exists. Apparently, the division has also made its way into the royal family, which until now was the guarantor and symbol of national unity. Additionally, King Vajiralongkorn, who will be crowned six weeks after the elections, is undermining his claim to power by promptly and successfully reining in his sister.
Read more: Will Thailand’s military step aside after elections?
Consequences for the election
The vicious circle that has lasted several decades came into light on Friday for one more time. Elections, in which the Thaksin camp wins, are followed by coups. After the coup, conservatives from the royals, officials and the military call for reforms, changing the political system in their favor without giving up the charade of democracy completely. Then there are elections, which Thaksin’s camp can always win with a renamed political party. This time, the military wanted to do better, but the candidacy of the princess would have ruined its plans.
Thaksin continues to be creative when it comes to his own power. However, one has the impression that he has taken too big a risk. The damage for his party’s reputation through this risky maneuver is immense: not because of his core electorate, but because of undecided voters, who he would have needed to reach a majority in the national assembly. Thus, the prospects of the military winning the elections on March 24 are better than they were on Friday.