Exclusive: Conservative establishment has ‘trump card’ against Move Forward Party

Thailand’s conservative establishment has a “trump card” to play should the Move Forward Party exceed expectations and do well in the next elections, a source inside the government told Thai Enquirer on Thursday.

The Move Forward Party, and its predecessor the disbanded Future Forward Party, has disrupted the Thai political landscape since its inception three years ago.

The party and its leadership have challenged the Thai conservative establishment and have been willing to broach political taboos including challenging the country’s controversial lese majesty laws.

Conservative figures within the government and within the Thai bureaucracy see the party as an existential threat, more so than the Thaksin Shinawatra-backed parties which caused so much consternation in the noughties and early 2010s.

But two well placed sources inside the government and close to the entrenched bureaucracy told Thai Enquirer that the government no longer views the Move Forward Party as a threat because they have been “neutralized” by recent constitutional changes and a “trump card” that the government now holds.

“The constitution changes we recently passed ensures that smaller parties without regional constituencies will do very badly at the next polls,” said one source inside the government that asked not to be named. “That is going to hurt Move Forward in the next election because they are very bad in regional contests.”

The source said that should Move Forward exceed expectations, a group within the ruling party and backed by the establishment were ready to use their “trump card.”

“We also are ready to move forward with a legal case against the party for disrespecting the institution,” said the source. “Many of [Move Forward’s MPs] are very careless and openly posting on social media or making speeches disparaging the sacred institution. Their calls for the abolishment of article 112 is also very well recorded.”

“We are sure that should we mount a legal case, Move Forward Party would likely be disbanded for touching on subjects that are above politics.”

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