The Newsletter 70 Spring 2015

A new polity in the making?

Porphant Ouyyanont

Thaksin Shinawatra's overwhelming victory in the election of 2005 marked the start of a period of socio-political division in Thai society. The former Prime Minster’s way of exercising power and his emphasis on efficiency and business management were seen by many as a direct challenge to Thai traditions, and also as a threat to the monarchy. Certainly under Thaksin there was less emphasis on the King’s advocacy of a ‘sufficiency economy’ but, instead, more on maximizing growth and becoming competitive. Thaksin thus attempted to create a strong and populist state with power centralized around his office.