About Political Parties in Thailand
Published 9th May, 2011
The past ten years have been turbulent for Thailand. It started with the rise of the Thai Rak Thai Party led by wealthy businessman Thaksin Shinawatra coming to prominence in the early 2000s.
Subsequently that party and others have been dissolved by the Constitutional Court and reborn in another guise. You may hear the names of many parties which no longer exist but which have deep meaning in the Thai psyche. The guide below explains the existing political parties and their roots.
You may also hear reference to two groups calling themselves the Red Shirts and Yellow Shirts. Neither grouping is a political party, more a protest movement.
The Yellow Shirts or People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) was formed to protest against the Thai Rak Thai Government of Thaksin Shinawatra. They do have a political wing which is known as the New Politics Party (NPP) but which has said that it will not contest the 2011 general election.
Although formerly allied to the Democrat party, the Yellow Shirts have fallen out with the current government of Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The Red Shirts or United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) are a pro-Thaksin movement and were the group who organised the close down of Bangkok airport in 2008. Their demonstrations in 2010 led to deadly clashes between protesters and the state which left 92 people dead.
There are a myriad of minor parties as listed below, most of which are very localised parties with very few members.