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Looking forward to Thailand's future

Four scenarios emerge for the opening of a new political space

Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, the founder of Thailand's now banned Future Forward Party, was the political choice of most first-time voters in the March 2019 elections. Banning the party left 6.3 million people disenfranchised and in many cases angry. (Photo by Akira Kodaka) 

In the months following Thailand's March 2019 election, Future Forward became the third-largest party in parliament. At its helm, Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit was effectively the de facto anti-establishment leader and potential nemesis of assertive army commander Gen. Apirat Kongsompong. Could the two sides come to an understanding?

Future Forward's secretary-general Piyabutr Saengkanokkul claimed in an interview that right after the election, he and Thanathorn had been urged by a senior government figure to withdraw from public life and leave Thailand for five years if they wanted to prevent the party from being dissolved. From that moment on, they believed that dissolution was extremely likely: It was just a matter of time.

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