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Thailand escapes ‘not free’ label despite election chaos


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Thailand’s surge from the shackles of “not free” to “partly free” status in the annual Freedom House survey has sent ripples across the globe.


Despite a rocky electoral journey that left many questioning the integrity of the democratic process, the Land of Smiles defies the odds, prompting scrutiny and speculation.


Freedom House, a Washington DC-based non-profit organisation championing democracy and human rights, paints a vivid picture of the global landscape, assessing 210 countries and territories. Amongst the 84 labelled as free, 59 as partly free, and 67 as not free, Thailand’s narrative takes centre stage.


With meticulous scoring based on 25 indicators encompassing political rights and civil liberties, Thailand garners a total score of 36 out of 100, a figure reflecting a blend of progress and persistent challenges.


While celebrated for holding competitive elections, Thailand’s journey towards democracy remains fraught with uncertainties. Despite the Move Forward Party (MFP)’s electoral success, establishment forces thwarted their path to governance, leaving observers wary of the nation’s democratic trajectory.


“The more competitive balloting, and the fact that the second-ranked opposition party (Pheu Thai) made it into government, led to score improvements that pushed the country across the threshold from Not Free to Partly Free status.”


Yet, amid the glimmer of progress, doubts linger. Thailand’s democratic resilience is questioned, with echoes of the 2014 coup still reverberating, leaving its overall score a far cry from pre-crisis levels, reported Bangkok Post.


The Freedom House report, unveiled in the wake of the Economist Intelligence Unit’s Democracy Index, underscores Thailand’s enigmatic political landscape. Despite strides towards democratic governance, shadows of unelected influences loom large, inviting scrutiny and debate on the true state of Thailand’s political freedoms.


In related news, the yearly Democracy Index compiled by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has seen Thailand’s ranking fall by eight places, a change largely ascribed to the latest government formation by unelected senators rather than voters.


By Mitch Connor

Caption: Photo courtesy of Freepik


Source: The Thaiger 2024-02-29


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A very poor conclusion. This is NOT a democracy, where they oust an elected man because he was too progressive. 


Now that Pheu Thai has cut the treasonous deal with the army, all bets are off. They completely betrayed their base of support, and the nation. The army is the last institution in the world this nation wants anything to do with. Any reputation they may have once had, has gone down the drain with those very long 9 years of ineptitude, malfeasance, corruption and theft. 


So, where does the nation go from here? It is likely to continue it's backwards spin. Perhaps into near oblivion and even a greater degree of irrelevance. 

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On 3/1/2024 at 10:28 AM, Nickcage49 said:

It may be "free", but it's not a Democracy as we know it in the West.

Unfortunately democracy as we know it in the west is also diminishing, with the possibility of being ravaged and defiled grossly come this November. Perilous times for democracy globally.

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Had a look at the Methodology applied by Freedom House.

Thailand scored 12 points for "Political Rights" and 24 points for "Civil Liberties".

The country sits at the very  bottom of the barrel in the category of "partly free". A single point less in "Political Rights" - 11 instead of 12 - would relegated it to the "not free" countries. 

2 major developments affecting the score developed after the Freedom House report was finalised.

1. Charter courts ruling that MF attempted to overthrow the monarchy with possible ramifications incl. to dissolve MF.

2. The drama surrounding Thaksin incl. approval by the relevant Authorities to once again entering politics was not known at the time.

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