Highlights of the week

How future of Thai politics will be like

Political analysts must primarily take stock of two things, which include a recent opinion poll predicting that “post-COVID-19 politics” will be very heated, and an admission by a former red-shirted…

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An employee wearing protective equipment works at the production line of Russia’s biotech company BIOCAD, which is developing its own vaccine against the new coronavirus and working on another one in cooperation with the country’s virus research centre in Siberia, Vektor, in Strelna on May 20, 2020. (Photo by OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP)

‘Vaccine race’ can leave poor behind

The message is loud and clear and global: When a COVID-19 vaccine is developed, it must be easily accessible virtually free of charge to all the world’s population. The calls…

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Photo from marinegyaan.com

How superpowers probably helping COVID-19

Two heads are better than one, goes a universal proverb. Which can also mean that two superpowers must be better than the rest of the world when it comes to…

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People eat lunch at a street food restaurant implementing social distancing measures with plastic dividers on the tables after the Thai government relaxed measures to combat the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, in Bangkok on May 7, 2020. – Thailand began easing restrictions related to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus on May 3 by allowing various businesses to reopen, but warned that the stricter measures would be re-imposed should cases increase again. (Photo by Mladen ANTONOV / AFP)

“Successful” Thailand hangs its fate on vaccine quest

The daily numbers of COVID-19 cases in the country have been encouraging, but the good news remains quite limited, and the biggest nightmare can still come true. What if no…

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Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike (R) looks at a greeting robot called “Pepper” (L) as she visits a hotel during the first day the building is used as a new medical lodging facility to accommodate COVID-19 coronavirus patients with mild symptoms in Tokyo on May 1, 2020. – The hotel opened to join others which have already been converted by authorities to cope with rising numbers of infected. Japan has seen a relatively smaller scale outbreak compared to hotspots in Europe and the United States, with around 14,000 infections and 415 deaths as of April 30. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP)

Opinion: “Old Normal” waiting to pounce

“New normal” is actually an old term. Over two decades ago, it referred to economic conditions following the financial crisis of 2007-2008 and then the aftermath of the 2008-2012 global recession….

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Will PM win COVID-19 battle but lose economic war?

Good news for PM Prayut Chan-o-cha is that charter amendment will take a back seat, and the impact of the Future Forward Party’s dissolution, which had looked like a political…

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Asean must learn Europe’s COVID-19 lessons

A lot of people, among them many scientists, said the COVID-19 outbreak may have something to do with the weather. Europe is colder than many parts of the world, goes…

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Lessons from America that must be learned

One of the most-maligned politicians in the global COVID-19 crisis is Donald Trump. But truth is that many of his key mistakes are typical in the conventional political system. In…

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Now, the bright side

Losing jobs hurts, and the knife is being arguably twisted with the state of emergency. Staying home, having repeated or sloppily-cooked menus and watching TV around the clock can be…

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An Italian Covid-19, Corona patient is transported to the Helios hospital in Leipzig on March 25, 2020. – Hospitals in the German state of Saxony will take on at least six Italian coronavirus patients who are unable to receive treatment in their own country (Photo by Hendrik Schmidt / POOL / AFP)

Does COVID-19 weaken democracy?

Powers are flowing into the hands of rulers, among them much-maligned and yet strangely popular Donald Trump and former coup leader Prayut Chan-o-cha. But as democratic principles keep crumbling, albeit…

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File photo

Commentary: COVID-19 realigns everyone’s priorities

What humans young or old assume to be “important” are going out one by one. Some stock market activities have been suspended. Sport events around the globe, with enormous commercial…

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Thailand’s Deputy Agriculture Minister Thammanat Prompao gestures at Government House (File photo by Lillian SUWANRUMPHA / AFP)

Why clock is probably ticking on Thammanat

As it turns out, the opposition’s censure attack, much taunted for its long delay, came about two weeks too early. Imagine the no-confidence debate taking place now, with half of…

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File photo from Thai Government

How Prayut government finds itself in a state of flux

Thailand, like many places in the world, is facing a medical and economic crisis brought about by the fearsome COVID-19 virus. Throw in the political uncertainties on both side of…

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What’s next for Future Forward depends on many factors

The defiant message was pretty much expected. You think you have killed us while in fact you have just made us more out of control, Future Forward told its supposed…

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“Alpine” scandal just tip of land-grabbing iceberg

The fate of former Pheu Thai Party leader and former deputy prime minister Yongyuth Wichaidit, sent to two years in jail earlier this week in connection with the Alpine golf…

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File photo

Censure strategy clear, but also risky

The opposition bloc has resolved one key issue for the upcoming no-confidence debate. But the jury is still out on the alliance’s late agreement to single out the prime minister…

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Opposition gambles on coronavirus, dust and censure

When it comes to an outbreak of a fearsome disease, nobody is right all along and nobody is wrong all the time. Like the Prayut government, the opposition is grappling…

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Will there be more twists in gold shop killings?

Everyone following one of the most brutal and deadliest robberies in recent Thai history was expecting anything but what has actually been panning out. When a respected, good-looking and well-mannered…

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©Democrat Party, Thailand

In leaving Democrats, Korn probably has more options

The opposition will not jump for joy and Thailand’s oldest party will not celebrate, either. Korn Chatikavanij, who has bade farewell to the Democrat Party, will remain with the government…

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For decades, charter amendment has revolved around one thing

Over the past few days, three prominent political figures talked about proposed constitutional amendment. They may disagree on the timing, but an unspoken consensus is that it was no use…

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File photo

Year-end storms batter everyone politically

The Pheu Thai Party has suffered a shock by-election loss. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has been deemed by Government House reporters a confused hypocrite, but his bigger worries should be…

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Thanathorn arrives at crossroads sooner than expected

The Skywalk protest is most likely the point of no return. It’s where Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit effectively “crossed the line” into a new territory in which he might…

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Future Forward dealt almost-deadly blow

All evidence shows Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and his top lieutenants saw it coming, but the Election Commission’s stand on their party’s loan controversy was near-fatal all the same. The young-blood politicians…

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Facts about Future Forward’s loan controversy

The Election Commission does not need to present evidence that Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit lent money to his Future Forward Party, as he had admitted to that himself. The case, therefore, features…

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Disunited govt against disarrayed opposition

It may boil down to who manages crises better. The vulnerable Prayut government is staring at daily threats of rebellion but the Pheu Thai-led opposition is not in a perfect…

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Future Forward sails into heavier storms

As many analysts, detractors, opponents and insiders say, the Constitution Court’s Wednesday verdict against Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, stripping him of his MP status, is just the beginning. His and the Future…

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Can charter amendment follow the 1997 formula?

A “similar” process has been called for. The “situation”, however, is quite different. The paradox is that if the present Constitution is to be amended significantly, the only way to…

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China’s Premier Li Keqiang (L) reacts beside Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-O-Cha during a press conference at Government House in Bangkok on November 5, 2019. (Photo by Rungroj YONGRIT / POOL / AFP)

Opposition seeks to ruin govt’s New Year party

A “shock and awe” campaign has been promised, but the apparently-imminent upcoming censure debate can make or break the opposition as much as it can give the Prayut Cabinet a…

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Thailand rolls toward another big political climax

It will be a very tense build-up to November 20. Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has taken his gloves off as he awaits a verdict that will not only determine his future but also…

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Nakhon Pathom poll: Fun math that won’t amuse Thanathorn

The math and stats emerging from Nakhon Pathom don’t look good for Future Forward. They, and what the party has said and done itself, combine to make the by-election loss…

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Chadchart’s dilemma underscores big political shift

Will Future Forward “surpass” Pheu Thai? The question is becoming glaring with each passing day, underlined by the apparent reluctance of Chadchart Sittipunt to run in the Bangkok gubernatorial election…

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File photo

National divide and deep-South volatility threaten to converge

The seeds of Thailand’s two biggest troubles — the political divide and insurgency in the deep South — were apparently sowed in 2001. That year, national politics went past the…

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Future Forward’s trouble both internal and external

Controversial media mogul Sondhi Limthongkul has made an intriguing point the other day when he warned Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit against falling into a trap of old-fashion politics. The…

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Death sentence adds to Pheu Thai’s woes

“Leaders without maturity, who refuse to listen to cautions from well-meaning people, who are unaware that their mistakes can cause a damaging domino effect, can never make societies in critical…

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Thammanat is Prayut’s Newin Chidchob

Thaksin Shinawatra’s downfall was due to many things, and one of the largely-underrated was the defection of a key lieutenant. Newin Chidchob took with him manpower, election strategies and political…

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Facts and floods hamper “oath-taking” offensive

It was a Constitution that was born thanks to Prayut Chan-o-cha’s coup and virtually promoted by him and his military-backed regime. The opposition does not like many things about the…

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(Photo) Wan Yoobamrung, Sira Janjaka/Facebook

Commentary: Divide disrupts Thailand’s shot for political integrity

Two related incidents over the past few days can tell how far the country has come in its attempt to upgrade politics. A government MP has humiliated provincial police as…

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(Photo) AFP/Manan VATSYAYANA

How Prayut should take note of Hong Kong crisis

The similarities and differences between the seizures of the Hong Kong and Suvarnabhumi airports by anti-government protesters must have given Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha plenty of food for thought. Political…

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(Photo) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha laid foundation stone for a new building in the National Broadcasting Services of Thailand (NBT) Station, August 7, 2019

Speeding up “political cases” is double-edged sword

If the Prayut government was a man with a weak heart, legal cases involving opponents of the administration were strong pills, which aren’t necessarily good for someone not in perfect…

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(Photo) Mr. Chadchart greeted a Bangkok’s public bus passenger on March 23rd, 2019/Chadchart Sittipunt ‘s Facebook page

Opposition’s best chance to penetrate Bangkok

The city gubernatorial election was always, in the distant past, romanticized. Chamlong Srimuang with “cheap” campaign posters made of rural household utensils, Bhichit Rattakul with a tree-hugging and overwhelmingly-underdog image…

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(Photo) Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha receiving Mr. Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO) on Tuesday, July 23rd, 2019 at Government House

Prayut treading new diplomatic waters

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has returned from his European trip not buoyant. One reason is he is a man facing potentially big legal trouble, but another reason is that western countries have…

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Thaksin crossing into new territories

That Thaksin Shinawatra will not hold his birthday party this year could have been dismissed as immaterial, but for the fact that there are other intriguing “signals” as well. The…

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(Photo) Team Lung Tu Facebook page

It’s not how Cabinet looks; it’s how Prayut formed it

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha may have taken one step closer to the brink with the Cabinet he has set up. But it’s not quite about the “faces”, which are a…

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(Photo) Twitter @_nnungchv

Pheu Thai-Future Forward ties will be tested

Political breakups normally don’t occur while the parties concerned are in the opposition bloc. There may be signs, though, and the case in point is the relationship between the Pheu…

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(Photo) Thai Government’s website

Prayut given a test of what to come

Many say movie trailers are usually more exciting than the real films. For Prayut Chan-o-cha, however, the glimpse of what to come that he has experienced first-hand can be tantamount…

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Charter amendment: Benefits, risks and difficulties

Charter amendment can reopen old wounds. Or it can create new ones. The former scenario will benefit the opposition, whereas the latter can play into Prayut Chan-o-cha’s hands. Either way,…

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Economy, charter changes, graft to test Democrat-Palang Pracharat ties

This week’s introduction of the Democrat Party’s “Avengers” team was not just a PR stunt by a reeling political camp seeking to capitalize on a big movie hype. It was…

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(Photo) Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s Facebook page

Thai politics getting faster and more furious

There used to be an assumption that the Thai political crisis would significantly abate if Abhisit Vejjajiva and Thaksin Shinawatra each took a step back. After all, the political violence…

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Prayut steps from solid ground to shaky one

Prayut Chan-o-cha is a man counting his own ironies, and the latest one starts today, when Parliament elected the former coup leader as prime minister overseeing Thailand’s return to a…

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(Photo) Abhisit Vejjajiva Facebook page

Democrats have a Plan B in case Palang Pracharat reject their pre-conditions

The Democrat party is waiting for reconfirmation from the Palang Pracharat party over acceptance of its three pre-conditions, which were earlier agreed upon by the two parties.     Failing…

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Good news, bad news in Thanathorn’s latest controversy

By his own admission, Future Forward leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit has loaned his political party about Bt110 million. The fact that a newly-founded party needed money for its operations with a…

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New Democrat chief Jurin has mountain to climb

Jurin Laksanavisit’s first job as Democrat leader is tackling an immense dilemma that brought down his immediate predecessor Abhisit Vejjajiva. A social media cynical post has it that Jurin had…

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Democrats, small parties play smug kingmakers

The official announcement of election results has refuelled the heated race between the Palang Pracharat and Pheu Thai alliances to form a post-election government. With the rival camps fighting for…

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[Live] The Royal Coronation Ceremony on May 3, 2019.

The Royal Golden Plaque of the official title of His Majesty the King, the Royal Golden Plaque of His Majesty’s horoscope, and the Royal Seal of State are transferred from…

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Analysis: Scenarios embattled Thanathorn is facing

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit’s media share ownership case has been scrutinised by both supporters and sceptics alike on the social media, but the people who will truly determine his fate sit in…

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Article 270 versus national government

Over the past few days, calls for a “national government” have grown, but so are a group of constitutional interpreters who believe that writers of Thailand’s new charter had anticipated…

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File Photo

Analysis: Everyone is biding time in tight political race

It is no surprise that New Economics Party leader Mingkwan Sangsuwan was rumored over the weekend to have agreed to join the Palang Pracharat alliance. It is also no surprise…

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Of Thanathorn, Edward Snowden and Julian Assange

Imagine Thai, Chinese and Russian diplomats seek to be present at Edward Snowden interrogation. Imagine what America will say if that happens. That forms the core of the current uproar…

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Rivalry is fierce, but national govt remains possible

The tight and ferocious race to seize political control, the foreseen instability of the next administration, no matter who leads it, and the need to achieve some kind of harmony…

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Puea Chat becomes another political hotspot

The Puea Chat Party is small, but it will become one of the spiciest political elements. While the focus has been on what happens to the Future Forward Party, many…

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Analysis: Thanathorn: Phenomenon or status quo’s new threat?

It can be both. Future Forward Party leader Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit can be just a fever, but the fever can last for a long time, enough to make him a sustainable…

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File Photo

Despite Pheu Thai camp’s announcement, it’s far from over

The announcement by the Pheu Thai-led alliance that it is ready to form a post-election coalition government because it has 255 House of Representatives seats is anything but a declaration…

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Analysis: As March 24 draws near, Abhisit’s dilemma deepens

Over the past few days, Abhisit Vejjajiva was provoked by two key figures on both sides of the national divide. Suthep Thaugsuban of the Action Coalition for Thailand Party asked…

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Thaksin shadow getting more intense in election homestretch

Ruam Palang Prachachart Thai founder Suthep Thaugsuban has only confirmed the inevitability of the Thai election. His demand that Thai voters make a choice between keeping Thaksin Shinawatra away from…

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Pheu Thai-led alliance in rearguard battle

Before sunset last Friday, the last day of electoral candidacy registration, the Pheu Thai-led alliance was totally upbeat. Its realistic chances of beating its enemies and take post-election power had…

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Why the princess’s appearance on political scene is just fleeting

When the excitement died down, most people only saw problems. When romanticism associated with the Thai Raksa Chart’s stunning announcement subsided, the irony it created became more glaring. That is…

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Photo: www.facebook.com/prayutofficial

Prayut and Palang Pracharat: Who’s impeding whom?

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is approaching a crossroads. By early next month, he will have to make his intention clear on whether he will be a prime ministerial nominee of…

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Post-election scenario Prayut’s rivals won’t like

Is the pro-election camp barking up the wrong tree? Quite likely, according to some analysts who scrutinize the 2017 Constitution beyond the contentious “150 days” rule. The current debate focuses…

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“150 days” fuss simplified

To follow Thai politics, ones initially were required to be just well-versed in mathematics. Now, people need to also be good at reading the technical language of the laws. The…

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Probably no big winners and losers in election delay

In the Thai circumstances, delaying a general election by a month may not have a significant impact as far as voters are concerned.  But this is not to say that a…

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Can Abhisit find tightrope to walk?

What Abhisit Vejjajiva said just before the year-end and mercurial Chuwit Kamolvisit’s response to it might combine to give the former a way out of his political jam actually. Abhisit…

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Money flows can determine political outcomes

The Pheu Thai Party, ironically as its critics may say, will be hoping money does not matter as much in next year’s election. The Democrats, meanwhile, are struggling to cope with…

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“Unlocked” parliamentary politics probably as good as it gets

The lifting of political restrictions will kick-start a semblance of conventional election campaigns as Thais know them. The greater freedom will certainly increase criticism against the military government, but Prime…

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Prayut and Palang Pracharat: A marriage waiting to happen

Strategically speaking, there’s a huge difference between Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha being in the Palang Pracharat Party’s list of prime ministerial candidates and him waiting for a parliamentary “invitation” to…

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How long will Chaturon last on center stage?

In politics, there are names that carry with them “good images”. In the end, something is often found lacking and the “good images” can only go so far, and then…

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Despite apparent optimism, Palang Pracharat faces daunting realities

When a political party has a caucus or launching ceremony, optimism prevails without fail. That optimism can be justified or misguided, which is why Palang Pracharat, a pro–Prayut party that…

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Now, the hard part for Abhisit

I don’t like Thaksin Shinawatra, so which party should I vote for — Democrat or Palang Pracharat? It’s the answer to this question that will determine the future of Thailand’s…

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The pros and cons of Pheu Thai’s “satellite” strategy

On the one hand, it is brilliant for Pheu Thai to “branch out” in a bid to get more House of Representatives seats under the new electoral rules.  “Associates” of…

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Dust settling down in Thailand’s political “Games of Thrones”

The political boundaries are getting clearer ahead of next year’s election, expected in February. Three camps will be competing in a mathematically sensitive race for power — the pro-Prayut alliance,…

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“Iron Lady” is off the blocks, again…but will she make it?

Sudarat Keyuraphan had always been tipped to become Thailand’s first female prime minister, until Yingluck Shinawatra came along. Now, the veteran politician would have to contend with being “second”, if…

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Democrat “primary” will be more than just a political ritual

What was supposed to be Abhisit Vejjajiva’s stroll to a new term as the Democrat leader has apparently changed. Whispers within Thailand’s oldest political camp have it that chances for…

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China’s President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Myanmar’s State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi as they attend the welcome ceremony at Yanqi Lake during the Belt and Road Forum in Beijing on May 15, 2017

“Debt trap” alert arises in Myanmar as more “Belt and Road” projects scrapped

YANGON (The Irrawaddy)  — Pakistan has recently halted agreements reached under China’s Belt and Road Initiative, including the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor seeking to connect Asia and Europe along the same route…

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Democratic Transition in Myanmar ‘at standstill’: UN Rights Panel

GENEVA (Reuters)  — Myanmar’s democratic transition has ground to a standstill as authorities seek to silence critics while allowing hate speech, particularly against Muslim Rohingya, the head of the UN human…

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9/11: The ghost that refuses to go away

This year’s anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America is marked by increasing confidence of so–called “conspiracy theorists”, who insist that the official story cannot be true, and growing…

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A look behind first caning of  LGBT persons  in Terengganu, Malaysia

Two women were caned in front of an audience in a Malaysian court for trying to have sex early this week.  The caning drew condemnation from human rights groups and calls…

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Reuters reporters Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo are led away by police after being convicted and sentenced to seven years’ imprisonment for violating the Official Secrets Act at Inn Sein Court in Yangon on Monday. Photo from The Irrawaddy

Reuters reporters’ sentencing, as it unfolded in the courtroom

YANGON (The Irrawaddy)  — For possessing the phone number of an officer in an ethnic armed group, the itineraries of visits to Rakhine by Pope Francis and Vice President U Myint…

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Facebook ban deepens distrust between Myanmar military, government

Yangon (The Irrawaddy News) — The already growing mistrust between the civilian administration and the powerful military leadership has been suddenly aggravated by social media giant Facebook’s decision to ban…

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A three-horse race for the next election?

In just a few more weeks, Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan–o–cha will make known his political future.  Many may wonder why Gen Prayut needs to wait until September to unveil…

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Is Thaksin putting another nail in Pheu Thai’s coffin?

Thaksin Shinawatra’s latest outburst against the Thai military government may come back to haunt him big time. His statements, which sought to uplift Pheu Thai politicians, could be deemed to…

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Election in February? Debate over election inspectors raises more doubts

By Thai PBS/ For many people, there are good reasons to doubt whether the long-anticipated election will take place within the time frame as outlined in the military junta’s political…

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A Buddhist monk bathes the shaved head of the rescued Thai boy and a member of “Wild Boars” football team together with their coach at the Phra That Doi Wao Buddhist temple in the Mae Sai district of Chiang Rai province during the religious ordination ceremony on July 24, 2018. Thai boys rescued from deep inside a flooded cave in a dramatic mission had their heads shaved on July 24 before a Buddhist ordination ceremony in honour of a diver who died during the operation. Panumas Sanguanwong / THAI NEWS PIX / AFP

Wild and breathtaking weeks for the Wild Boars

For the young footballers, aged only between 11 and 16, the transformation that they have been through in a just a period of slightly over a month is nothing short…

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“Wild Boars boys have no memory of dramatic rescue”

The rescue operation to save the 12 young footballers and their coach from the flooded Tham Luang cave network has transfixed the world. It has also been described as probably the…

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