Factional Politics and the 2019 Election in Thailand

Dr Punchada Sirivunnabood1

1Mahidol University, Nakhon Pathom, Thailand

Thailand’s 2019 General Election was the first election after five years of direct military rule under General Prayut Chan-ocha, who conducted a coup in 2014. Although the 2017 Constitution introduced many new provisions aiming to change the country’s political landscape, especially the political party system, its impacts appear limited as the 2019 electoral outcomes suggest that party politics in Thailand continue to exhibit the same set of players. The old-style factional politics have survived, particularly in the military-backed Palang Pracharat Party (PPRP), which houses multiple factions, including defectors from Phuea Thai. Focusing on the relationship between PPRP and its factions, this article argues that the new charter failed to achieve many of its goals. Internal party politics within PPRP resemble those of past political parties, wherein factions prevail with sharp infighting over cabinet seats.


Punchada Sirivunnabood is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences and
Humanities, Mahidol University, Thailand. She was a Visiting Fellow in the Thailand Studies Programme of the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute and the recipient of a 2019 U.S.-ASEAN Visiting Scholar Fulbright Fellowship. She has been a visiting
professor at the University of Cambridge.
Her research focuses on elections and political parties in Thailand and Indonesia and on regional security in ASEAN. She earned her doctorate in political science at Northern Illinois University, Illionis, USA.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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