Thaksin Returns(?) and Post-Election Uncertainties: A Panel on Thai Politics (Wed, 20 February 2008)

Dr Pattana Kitiarsa (Southeast Asian Studies Programme, NUS)
Dr Pinkaew Laungaramsri (Southeast Asian Studies Programme, NUS)
Dr Pavin Chachavalpongpun (ISEAS)
Dr Ora-orn Poocharoen(Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy)
Date: Wednesday, 20 February 2008
Time: 4:00pm – 5:30pm
Venue: AS3, Level 6, SEAS Seminar Room (06-20)

Whether coup or election, it is “politics” as usual in Thailand. Since the military or “royalist” coup ended Thaksin Shinnawatra administration in September 2006, Thai politics has remained as cloudy and problematic as during a period toward the end of Thaksin regime. In early 2008, Thailand will soon be run by the new coalition government led by Samak Sundaravej and the People Power Party (the reincarnation of Thai Rak Thai Party). However, the questions remain: where would Thai politics go as a result of the December 23, 2007 election? Will the issues of countryside-Bangkok disparities intensify? What are the roles of monarchy and its influential network in the post-election politics? Will Thai military return to their barracks? What are responses to the return of populist politics from the country’s urban middle class, i.e., intellectuals, NGOs, and media? Can Thai politics in Bangkok contain the insurgencies in the Deep South? What are the implications of latest political development in Thailand to ASEAN and neighboring countries? This panel will cover these critical questions and open up a venue for scholarly comment and discussion, anchored by specialists on Thai politics and contemporary affairs.