However one wants to describe Thailand’s general election in March (the terms “bizarre” and “shambles” come to mind), “democratic” isn’t an adjective close at hand. Attempts by the largest political party, a pro-democracy group, to form a coalition government were rebuffed, while the leader of the military junta that came to power in a coup in 2014, and who didn’t even stand as a member of parliament in the ballot, was voted in as prime minister largely thanks to the support of a Senate that is appointed by the armed forces.
Yet the election was an important step in “restoring pluralism and democratic governance in Thailand,” reckoned Federica Mogherini, the European Union’s foreign-affairs chief, as she prepared to attend summits in Bangkok last week. Such an opinion, while not necessarily reflecting how many Thais perceive what happened, is useful as the EU wants to reopen talks about a bilateral free-trade agreement (FTA) that were suspended in 2014, just a year after they began, because of the military coup.
Continue reading: Asia Times | EU seems to have forgiven Thai military ruler | Opinion