Four key cases poised to reshape Thailand’s political landscape


Old junta power bloc has launched legal assault to regain power, analysts say.

Thailand’s political calendar in the rainy season is heating up as four key cases await judgment.

In the first case, former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is due to be formally indicted on a charge of lese majesty on June 18.

In the second, the Constitutional Court will rule on whether organic laws governing the ongoing Senate election violate the Constitution.

In the third case, judges will rule whether the Move Forward Party should be dissolved on charges of seeking constitutional changes that amount to attempting to topple the monarchy.

The fourth case will decide whether Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin should be ousted for appointing Phichit Chuenban as Prime Minister’s Office Minister despite his prison record.

'Domino effect'

Pundits warn of a potential earthquake in Thai politics from a “domino effect” across the quartet of cases.

Although the cases may seem unrelated at first glance, from a political perspective they are interlinked and part of the ongoing power struggle. Analysts say rulings in the cases may see power shift decisively back to the "Ban Pa" faction led by General Prawit Wongsuwan.

Among the four cases awaiting judgment, three were initiated by individuals from this old conservative power bloc. 

The cases challenging Senate election law and the Move Forward Party were initiated by Teerayut Suwankesorn. Teerayut co-founded the pro-military Reform People’s Party with Paiboon Nititawan – who is now deputy leader of Gen Prawit’s Palang Pracharath Party.

Meanwhile, the case seeking to remove Srettha Thavisin was filed by 40 senators from the NCPO junta-appointed upper House.

'Total victory'

Analysts say this legal manoeuvring by the old power bloc indicates it aims to achieve “total victory” on the political battlefield.

The legal challenge to the Senate election is expected to succeed in overturning the election.

If this happens, the NCPO junta-appointed Senate would remain in place to serve as a counterbalance to the Pheu Thai/Thaksin-led government, analysts say.

The Move Forward case, meanwhile, will see other parties scrambling to pick up its MPs if the party is dissolved. Some Move Forward MPs have already defected to the Ban Pa faction.

Turning to Srettha, pundits say the PM is being used as a hostage to rein in moves by his “big boss” Thaksin, who is working to seize control of the Senate with the ultimate goal of dominating both the legislative and executive branches.

Thus, while the rainy season usually brings refreshing showers, the political climate is instead being heated to a boil by players battling to reclaim power, while paying no heed to a public who are left watching in despair, soaked in the rain.