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Looking ahead 2018

Will Thailand return to electoral democracy in 2018?

Five key scenarios loom as possible outcomes in the country's uneven transition from military rule

| Thailand
Will Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha deliver on his promise of a 2018 election?   © Reuters

Thailand has a problem: An election previously scheduled for 2016 has still not been held. After meeting U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in October, Premier Prayuth Chan-ocha signed up to a joint communique promising polls in late 2018 -- but promptly tried to deny that he had agreed to any such thing. Since then, he has publicly committed to holding the election -- a pledge on the basis of which the European Union recently normalized relations with Thailand -- but always seems to be trying to wriggle out of it.

For example, Prayuth has asked the public whether Thailand needs some new political parties. A new electoral system created by the 2017 Constitution is after all intended to favor medium-sized parties. But There is just one minor problem: Currently there are no medium-sized parties to be favored.

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