Growing Instability in Thailand

Growing Instability in Thailand

Political instability in Thailand due to continued protests and violence surrounding general election


Thailand underwent a military coup on May 22, 2014, following a declaration of martial law and months of demonstrations and violence. On May 7, 2014, Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra was ordered to step down on corruption charges from Thailand’s constitutional court. The military junta that seized control has relaxed curfews and promised a new government by August but continues to ban protests against the coup.

For six months, protests led by former deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban had virtually shut down Bangkok, demanding that Prime Minister Yingluck Shinwatra resign. Yingluck is the sister of Thaksin Shinwatra—ousted by an army coup in 2006—and leader of the Phue Thai Party, or “red shirts.” She was viewed by protestors as a puppet leader of her billionaire exiled brother. Tens of thousands of protestors forced polling stations to close in Bangkok and southern Thailand on February 2, 2014.

The demonstrations began in November 2013 following a controversial amnesty bill in the Thailand’s parliament that would allow Thaksin to return without serving jail time. The “yellow shirts”—or those who oppose the Shinwatras—are headed by the Democrat Party. They boycotted the election and continue to call for political reform in Thailand, wanting to create an “unelected people’s council” to replace Yingluck’s administration. 

Please note that this contingency was not identified in the 2014 Preventive Priorities Survey, completed in November 2013. It has been added to highlight a crisis that has emerged since the publication of the survey results. 

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