Continued failure by the ruling Palang Pracharat Party to quell the pandemic and to make the tough decisions necessary to stem the tide of infections has made them a popular target for critics and analysts.
Even long-time conservative voters who supported Prayut during the last election are having trouble swallowing his rule and contemplating a second elected Prayut government after the next polls.
Many former supporters have pointed out the country’s abysmal vaccination program, the inclusion of criminals and superspreaders within the cabinet, and unpalatable decisions by the government to keep the country running over Songkran which has led to nationwide infections.
Alternatives to the PPRP have also been found wanting. Bhumjai Thai is seen as culpable as the ruling party given that they run the Ministry of Public Health. The only person whose stock has fallen as much as Prime Minister Prayut Chan-ocha has been public health minister Anutin Charnvirakul.
The Democrat Party, the other coalition partner, might gain from BJT and PPRP’s demise but many of its former voting base still feels a sense of distrust and are put-off by the Democrat’s spineless leadership.
As a result, Korn Chatikavanij’s new Brave Party might stand most to benefit from the current Covid-19 pandemic. As a conservative and pragmatist, his credentials are solidified. He has also staffed the party with loyalists and royalists, a pre-requisite to the conservative vote.
Korn also, through luck or foresight, resigned from the government before the Covid-19 fiasco and thus keeping his reputation intact.
The problem now for the Brave Party is how to capitalize on BJT and PPRP’s bad fortune. With elections two years away and a house dissolution during a crisis completely out of the question, the Brave Party must now position itself as advisor and caretaker of the people.
If Korn can somehow lead his party into positions where they are seen as defending a population vulnerable to the ravages of Covid while also offering constructive criticism of the vaccine program, he might even do the impossible and appeal to more liberal voters.