“We had a movement two years ago that (made it) really clear that people had enough with the military government,” she said.
However what was cause for surprise was the Move Forward Party winning majority, given their progressive agenda that included reforms of the military and the lese majeste law, she said.
“It was clearly an indicator that people, the newer generation or more than half of the country now, is willing to move beyond this conflict and wants the country to be more progressive rather than freezing … the landscape (the way the) conservative wants,” she said.
While existing divides based on region, class identity and prior political allegiances were obvious in this year’s election, “generational divide looms the largest as an emerging new cleavage in Thai society”, said Prof McCargo.
“There’s a very, very big difference in worldview between people under 30 and people over 30, and their willingness to go along with what were considered to be traditional natural assumptions about the way Thailand should be organized is much, much less than it was in previous generations,” he said.
CHANCES OF PARTIES BEING DISSOLVED
Despite the support the opposition has garnered, he noted that parties can be dissolved and MPs disbarred.
“Thailand has dissolved more political parties than any other country in the world over the past 20 years. They’ve got a pretty good track record of doing that,” he said.
He noted that the Move Forward Party is a replacement of the Future Forward Party, which ran in the last election but was dissolved by order of the constitutional court.
“That threat is always there, that Move Forward could be banned, that Pheu Thai could be banned, that any of the other parties could be banned,” he said.