Thais cast ballots last Sunday in their first general election since 2014 and the vote resolved little, if anything. The population remains deeply divided, as evidenced by the support for the two leading parties, but the structural advantage enjoyed by the ruling party — installed by and closely associated with the military — ensures that the status quo will not be challenged. This result was expected and portends ill for genuine democracy in that country.

The Thai Army launched a coup against Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2014, asserting that she was corrupt, and promised a return to democracy as soon as possible. Ultimately, that meant five years, enough time for the military leaders who took command to don civilian clothes, demonstrate that they were capable leaders and, perhaps most importantly, write and see ratified a constitution that ensured that the military would retain power no matter what electoral results occurred.

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