Thailand organized general elections on 14 May after intense campaigns.
Interview with External Relations Director U Aung Thu Nyeen from the Director of Communications at ISP Myanmar and political analyst is about the impacts of Thai election results on Myanmar’s Spring Revolution and possible policy changes after the elections.
TLT: Could you talk about the situations and policy advantages of parties in Thai elections?
U Aung Thu Nyeen: Thai general elections took place on 14 May. Poll results on newspapers and research organizations showed that the leader of Move Forward Party, Pita Limjaroenrat, was widely tipped to get prime minister position.
The youngest daughter of Thaksin Shinawatra secured second largest vote. She represented for his father’s Pheu Thai party. Both Move Party and Pheu Thai parties are favourite among Thai people.
TLT: What are policies of their parties on Myanmar?
U Aung Thu Nyeen: It was not noticed during their campaign. Thai election law prohibits speech on foreign policy in their campaign. Parties did not mention it. They just focus on their internal affairs in which Thai voters are more interested. Their campaigns highlighted well-fares for the people.
TLT: Could you mention positive impacts of Thai new government on Myanmar’s Spring Revolution?
U Aung Thu Nyeen: It is too early to say it. The above-mentioned two parties are favourite among the people, but the election result will be officially announced on the first week of July. Moreover, it is better to know about the procedure of Thai election. The election is held for 500 seats in House of Representatives or Lower House of Parliament, while an unelected 250 -members have already taken seat at the Senate. So, the Lower House and the Senate, a total of 750 MPs, will take part in the vote to appoint the prime minister who needs to win the support of 376 votes. So, it is too early to say who will form the new government. Although pro-military party did not security votes in the elections, they could organize government with the help of 250 votes from Senate. Moreover, we should not make high expectation from Thai elections. Their government will establish good ties with any administration in Myanmar, either military administration or more brutal dictatorship, with the reasons of neighbouring country and security for their national interest. On the other hand, they will not neglect opposition groups, while their self-interest is at the top of priority. Recently, NUG said to collect tax over Thai PPT energy company, and Thai border trade route connected to Myawady and Mae Sot. Thai governments will not like these situations.
TLT: What will happen when Pheu Thai party could form the government?
U Aung Thu Nyeen: Phue Thai party has expected to form their government. During the reign of former minister Thaksin Shinawatra, they considered about Myanmar. They made Chao Phraya- Mekong cooperation agreements. They adopted an idea of economic cooperation among four member countries Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia and Laos. If Pheu Thai party could form a government, the agreement is likely to resume.
TLT: It is not easy for the new government to change its foreign policy. Why? Does it mean to have less impact on Myanmar’s Spring Revolution?
U Aung Thu Nyeen: Thailand has to suffer more impacts of Myanmar situations than any other countries in ASEAN. They worry about the exodus of Myanmar refugee and the spread of internal conflict. They also have some other issues such as illegal trade narcotic drugs, trafficking in persons and other security affairs.
TLT: What is policy of incumbent Thai government on Myanmar? Which side do they favour, the military or the opposition?
U Aung Thu Nyeen: It is difficult to make definite remark. They holds pragmatic approach. The incumbent foreign affairs minister has no political party background. He was gradually promoted from lower ranks to this position. So, his present policies are not expected to change.
TLT: What is your concluding remark on Thai elections?
U Aung Thu Nyeen: Without stability in the election, Pheu Thai will not win. If people’s expectation is neglected in voting to appoint the prime minister, some problems will occur in Thai politics. It is advised Myanmar migrant workers and community to keep away from their political situations.