Today’s extraordinary session of parliament has resulted in a new prime minister being appointed in Thailand. The new man in what has become a very hot seat is Abhisit Vejjajiva. The 44-year-old leader of the Democrat Party becomes Thailand’s third different prime minister this year and it is yet another twist in the nation’s complicated political story.
What Does This Mean for Tourists?
The recent protests that forced the closure of Bangkok’s two airports were led by the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD). The PAD were protesting against the then government and what they saw as the continuing influence of former Thai leader, Thaksin Shinawatra. Today’s appointment will certainly win the approval of the PAD protesters and should also be popular with many influential people amongst the Bangkok elite including important figures in the army.
In terms of any more travel disruption, it should be good news for tourists because the PAD protesters have finally got what they wanted. Political parties loyal to Thaksin are no longer in power and there is a new prime minister at the helm who they will accept. This should all mean that there is no need for PAD to resume their protests.
Will There be More Protests in Bangkok?
Although the PAD will be happy and have no cause to resume any further action, it certainly doesn’t signal an end to the political shenanigans in Thailand. Abhisit will probably lead a weak coalition and there are still divisions in the country with many still loyal to Thaksin and his populist policies which won the approval of many of Thailand’s people especially those in the north and north-east. Thousands attended a pro-Thaksin rally in Bangkok over the weekend and today’s announcement of the new prime minister was greeted with anger by Thaksin supporters. It is likely that there will be some marches and demonstrations by red-shirted Thaksin supporters, but a repeat of the closure of Bangkok’s airports should be ruled out.