Pheu Thai Party
The Pheu Thai Party is the latest incarnation of Thaksin Shinawatra’s original Thai Rak Thai Party. Under the leadership of Thaksin’s younger, Yingluck Shinawatra, it held an absolute majority (265/500) in the House of Representatives after the 2011 elections and ruled for three years until the 2014 military coup.
The party continues to regarded as Thailand’s largest political party and was expected to win a plurality of votes in the last elections, something it came marginally short of. Pheu Thai continues to be closely linked with the Shinawatras (now both in exile) and stays true to its populist origins. Its supporters traditionally wear red and are informally dubbed “red shirts.”
Pheu Thai now leads the self-described “pro-democracy” coalition which is made up of six other parties, most notably the Future Forward Party. The coalition is expected to control the House of Representative.
Phalang Pracharat Party
Phalang Pracharat Party is a brand new right-wing party formed on March 2018 by four former ministers of General Prayut cabinet including Mr. Uttama Savanayana, Mr. Sontirat Sontijirawong, Mr. Suvit Maesincee, and Mr. Kobsak Pootrakool.
The Party’s main objective is to end the political instability and create a new stable democracy. However, since its founding the party has faced heavy criticism from political rivals for its close relationship with the current government and the Election Commission (EC), declining to participate in several live debates, and obtaining a headstart in political campaigning.
At first, Phalang Pracharat announced three official candidates for PM including the incumbent Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-o-cha, Mr. Uttama Savanayana and, the current Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Somkid Jatusripitak. On February 8th 2019, however, they declared General Prayuth their only candidate. Despite his evident links to the party, Prayut is yet to become an official member. However, this would not stop him from being the party’s prime ministerial candidate, as the new constitution allows parties to nominate non-members.
The party won a plurality of votes in these last elections but not a plurality of seats. It will need to form a coalition with at least one party to secure General Prayut’s premiership. Party leader Uttama Savanayana announced they would wait until the official results before coalition building takes place.
Future Forward Party
The Future Forward Party is a brand new political party founded on October 3rd, 2018 with a strong emphasis on restoring democracy in Thailand and stopping the cycle of military coup d’etats that has plagued the country since 1932.
Party’s slogan is “ The Future Forward for Thailand with a brighter future.” The party was viewed as the likely dark-horse in the 2019 general election with its solid political ideology and party slogan attracting the support of younger generations. The Party performed particularly well on election day and is now poised to become the third biggest party in parliament. Just days after the election, Future Forward announced its membership of a seven-party coalition lead by Pheu Thai. This coalition is expected to control the House of Representative.
The Democrat Party (or Prachathipat which refers to democracy in Thai) is the oldest political party in Thailand, founded on April 6th 1946. It is historically recognised as a conservative and royalist party with the support from middle class people. The party is regionally dominant in the south and (usually) Bangkok. Under the former leadership of Abhisit Vejjajiva, the Democrat Party led a coalition government from 2008 to 2011. However, the 2019 election was Abhisit’s last time running for Prime Minister, after the leader resigned on election night due to the party’s underperformance.
The economic plan (แก้คน แก้จน สร้างชาติ) unveiled by the Democrat party for 2019 aims to reduce income inequality through welfare program. Abhisit was on the record stating the party would not build a coalition with the military-linked Phalang Pracharat or back Prayut as PM, although his position on the matter had more recently soften. Some have speculated the Party could form a coalition with the pro-junta party after its unfortunate showing in these last elections.
Bhumjaithai (Thai Pride) Party
The Bhumjaithai party was founded November 5th 2008 in anticipation of it’s predecessor, the Neutral Democratic Party, being dissolved on December 8th by Constitutional Court of Thailand. The party has its roots in Thailand’s rural northeast. The party has made marijuana legalization (both medical and recreational) its signature issue, displaying ganja leaves in every poster. It argues weed could become a valuable cash crop in the Thai economy. They also advocare for a 4 day work/school week, reforming fishing laws, economic development in the Deep South, free online education for life, and subsidizing student debt with minimized loan interest rates. Bhumjaithai out performed all expectations in the March 2019 elections and likely to be the fourth biggest party in parliament. They face scattered allegations of paying for new members.