The post-election crisis in Thailand could spawn a political uncertainty that could last for weeks, if not months, with everyone guessing when a new government could come into being. Under normal circumstances, a prime minister can be named and a government formed within weeks after a nationwide parliamentary election. But given the polarization in the country’s political spectrum with Yingluck Shinawatra’s caretaker government on one side and the anti-government protesters on the other side, it is almost predictable that the political impasse could stretch to a much longer time, according to political analysts here. Both sides are not willing to compromise on their respective positions and a protracted legal battle looms, a situation that has baffled, it not exasperated, the cross-section of the Thai society.
While the caretaker government has appeared so upset about the incomplete and troubled election, the anti-government protesters headed by former Deputy Premier Suthep Thaugsuban have expressed disappointment over the failure of the powerful military to heed their persistent calls for the overthrow the lame-duck government in a coup similar to the one staged in 2006 that ousted Yingluck’s brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, according to independent political scientist Sirot Klampaibul.
The nationwide election, held Feb. 2, was marred by street protests and pockets of violence in the capital and southern constituencies. In some areas, the protesters forcibly stopped voters from casting their votes.
According to the constitution and electoral law of the country, the post-election parliament can only open with a minimum of 95 percent of a total of 500 lawmakers, or a total of 475 lawmakers.
Given the unprecedented disruption in the electoral process, the lower house in parliament will have no more than 472 legislators, which is short of the minimum required number.