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Welcome to the 2019 New Zealand Political Studies Association Annual Conference

"Security, Community, Humanity"

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Friday, November 29 • 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Thai Politics

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Jitraporn Somyanontanakul
How do protests look like in Thailand? Evidence from Thai Rath newspaper, 1997-2016

An increasing number of protests is evident in many new democracies. My research will use Thailand as an example to investigate how protests look like and the words used or displayed by the protesters. In my research, I examine protest events from 1997 to 2016 by collecting data from 7,665 news articles between 1997 to 2016 from Thai Rath, the most popular newspaper in Thailand. The Protest Event Analysis (PEA), a type of content analysis, is applied to analyze the data. The findings reveal the different search results from two different words, Protest, การประท้วง- karn-pra-tuang,(535) and Demonstration, การชุมนุม, karn-choom-noom, (4051). The search results of Demonstration are 5 or 7 times greater than those of Protest. The next conclusion, drawing from Thai Rath, is that it mostly reported about the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship or UDD and the first day of August was the most likely time the protest events would reach its peak in terms of frequency. The final conclusion comes from investigating phases frequently used by the campaigners in the protest events. The main target of the protesters was the government and their words contain a diagnosed frame and a motivational frame. Overall, the research findings reveal waves of protest and how some groups of protesters connected to each wave of protest.

Suthikarn Meechan
Power from Below: How Local Networks Operate and their Impact on the 2019 Thai General Election

This article examines operating patterns and impacts of local networks on the 2019 Thai general election. Fieldwork was conducted in Roi-Et Province, the strong political base of prominent anti-junta parties, closely watched by the Military Junta. The military-led government assumed control and conducted political activities in local areas previously identified as powerbases and sources of political resistance. The roles of elected local politicians were monitored, with budgets of local administrative organizations significantly reduced. Officials operating under the umbrella of the Ministry of Interior were encouraged to promote the pro-junta Palang Pracharat Party at the grassroots level. To survive and strengthen their power bases, local actors reinvented forms of relationships under clientelistic politics. In other words, local powers adopted a parallel connection that generated an upsurge in political networking to both negotiate and competes against other factions. The general election results in constituencies have become noteworthy evidence of the power generated by local forces. The primary focus is to determine how political parties and local networks work toward accomplishing achievement in the national election that also impacts on the coming local elections. Findings are also presented proposing the nature of local cliental-electoral networks embedded in modern-day Thai politics.

James Ockey
Future Forward and the Thai Elections of 2019

In March 2019, Thailand held its first election since 2011. Although the military regime carefully devised an electoral system to benefit pro-regime candidates, and provided extensive advantages to its own party in campaigning, the opposition nevertheless did very well, winning nearly half the seats. While the Pheu Thai party won the most seats--it has won the most seats in every election since 2001--election analysts were taken by surprise as a new party heavily outperformed its polling results. That party, Future Forward, had taken a new approach to politics, shunning former MPs and choosing new, generally young candidates. It had numerous female candidates near the top of its party list. And it had invested considerable effort in online campaigning, seeking to attract new, young voters who had not been eligible to vote eight years ago. In this paper I will analyse the reasons for the success of Future Forward, focusing on its campaign strategy. I will argue that while its success is based in large part on its innovative approach, it also benefitted from more traditional forms of support, borrowed from other parties.

Pinsuda Wonganan
Shifting patterns of candidate selection in Thai Local Administrative Organisations

Since the landslide victory of the Thai Rak Thai party in the legislative election in 2001 much literature on Thai local politics concentrates on the strengthening of political parties in electoral competition. Party identification and party branding have become a critical winning factor in elections rather than personality, vote-buying, and patronage. However, Thai political parties are likely to play an informal role in local politics and allow a free vote, creating a pervasiveness of local political groups and political dynasties. Hence, the relationship between political parties and local politics in Thai contemporary politics needs to be re-examined. This paper sheds light on the shifting patterns of formal party involvement in Thai local politics and traces their roles in selecting candidates, setting party policies and competing in elections.

avatar for Dennis Quilala

Dennis Quilala

University of Canterbury


Jitraporn Somyanontanakul

Lecturer, College of Politics and Governance

Suthikarn Meechan

University of Canterbury

Jim Ockey

University of Canterbury

Pinsuda Wonganan

University of Canterbury

Friday November 29, 2019 3:30pm - 5:00pm NZDT
Eng Core 119, Meeting Rm 3 Engineering Core

Attendees (4)