Undermining Democracy: The Election Commission of Thailand in the 2019 Election

November 11, 2021
Other Event

The Thai Social Science Seminar Series, a joint initiative between the University of Sydney’s Southeast Asia Centre, the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) and the New York Southeast Asia Network (NYSEAN), will host a webinar titled ‘Undermining Democracy: The Election Commission of Thailand in the 2019 Election’ on on Thursday, November 11, 2021, at 2:00 PM (Indochina Time).

Join Dr Petra Desatova (University of Copenhagen) and Assistant Professor Saowanee Alexander (Ubon Ratchathani University) to discuss the role of the election commission of Thailand in the 2019 election.

This talk examines the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT), Thailand’s formally independent electoral management body (EMB), and the role it played in the 2019 election. Dr Petra Desatova and Assistant Professor Saowanee Alexander argue that in non-democratic regimes with high levels of political polarisation and entrenched elites, such as contemporary Thailand, formal EMB independence may become part of the problem why elections fail. It creates opportunities for long-term EMB capture by actors who wield power outside of formal politics and are unaccountable to public interest. In case of the ECT, this has led to the decreasing electoral standards culminating in the highly contentious 2019 election where the ECT’s administrative efficiency and effectiveness of voting came secondary to pleasing the entrenched old Thai elite. Its conduct has reduced Thailand’s prospects for a peaceful transition to democratic rule as those who oppose the country’s old elite have increasingly limited opportunities to challenge it through formal means.

To register for the event, click here.