More than four years after Thailand’s military seized power in a coup, the nineteenth coup or coup attempt in the kingdom since the end of the absolute monarchy in 1932, the country still seems far from a return to civilian rule. Since the coup, junta leader Prayuth Chan-ocha has repeatedly promised that elections will be held, only to put them off once again. Most recently, the junta allowed political parties to register earlier this year, and also suggested that new elections would be held by February 2019 at the latest. However, in recent weeks the military has waffled on this date as well, and is now saying that elections could be held next May—or possibly later.
Yet even as Thailand’s junta prepares to push off elections again, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha has increasingly been welcomed in many leading democracies. Indeed, from Europe to Australia to the United States, countries have largely dropped efforts at pressuring Thailand’s government, even while Thailand’s political crisis stretches on indefinitely.
For more on how the junta has renormalized relations with leading democracies, see my new World Politics Review article.