A royal rumour upends Thai politics

Feb 07, 2019

IS THAI POLITICS about to turn upside down? For almost 20 years an endless political battle has pitted royalist elites, known as “yellow shirts”, against partisans of a populist former prime minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, known as “red shirts”. Parties linked to Mr Thaksin have won every election since 2001; the army has twice ousted Thaksinite governments in coups, most recently in 2014. Although the ruling junta is theoretically restoring democracy via an election on March 24th, the process was looking stage-managed to preserve the generals’ sway and keep Mr Thaksin at bay. But the royal family is contemplating a move that could upend the generals’ schemes and rehabilitate Mr Thaksin.

As The Economist went to press, each Thai political party was finalising a list of up to three choices for prime minister that it must register by law by February 8th. Thai Raksa Chart, a party founded by allies...

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