Thailand Appoints New Senate, Ending Military Era

Thailand Appoints New Senate, Ending Military Era

On July 10, the military-appointed Upper House was replaced by 200 new senators approved by Thailand’s Election Commission (EC). Introducing a new legislative body, this action may make governance for the ruling Pheu Thai Party more difficult. 

The new Senate will continue to review laws and select important members of powerful institutions like the European Community and Constitutional Court, but it will not vote on the prime minister’s approval.

Sawaeng Boonmee, secretary-general of the EC, blamed complaints that required investigation for the wait times in revealing the Senate election results. He verified the support of the two hundred senators, exposing an Upper House that saw advances for Bhumjaithai, the largest coalition partner, but fewer Pheu Thai affiliates. According to some, Bhumjaithai could be a proxy for the conservative-royalist establishment.

There has been a political rift in Thailand between populist parties like Pheu Thai and conservative military-backed factions, which has resulted in public riots and military coups in 2006 and 2014. The new Senate missed the chance to appoint a more Pheu Thai-friendly composition, according to independent political expert Mathis Lohatepanont. 

The lineup of the new Senate is a reflection of the political unrest and uncertainty that continue to surround Thai politics.