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Bangkok Senate Elections 2023: Key Predictions and Uncertain Outcomes by Pornpetch Wichitcholchai

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In the bustling city of Bangkok, Senate candidates made their way to the Centara Life Government Complex Hotel & Convention Centre on June 16 for a pivotal provincial-level election (Photo: Varuth Hirunyatheb). The scene was abuzz with anticipation and intrigue as major political parties, including the vocal opposition Move Forward Party (MFP), prepared for a heated contest. Outgoing Senate Speaker Pornpetch Wichitcholchai shared his predictions, fueling the excitement even further.

Pornpetch confidently asserted that a substantial number of representatives and allies from significant political factions, especially the MFP, were poised to secure seats in the final round of the Senate election. He emphasized that the results, set to be announced on July 2 following the national-level vote scheduled for next Wednesday, could see an influx of diverse new senators.

“We truly face an uncertain outcome,” Pornpetch remarked, the sparkle of political chess evident in his eyes. “However, it’s my educated guess that prominent parties, particularly the MFP, will clinch several seats. Additionally, we’re likely to witness a noteworthy presence of independent candidates achieving success in this race.”

He further elaborated that such an outcome would enhance the diversity within the new Senate, an aspect that could pave the way for more multifaceted discussions and decisions. Despite the common practice of lobbying for votes in the final rounds, he issued a stern warning against any attempts at vote buying, a malpractice that remains firmly under the purview of the Election Commission (EC).

“Let’s observe how free and fair this Senate election unfolds. Naturally, we’ve already noticed some signs of irregularities,” he said, his tone tinged with both concern and cautious optimism. “Addressing these discrepancies is undoubtedly the EC’s responsibility.”

Pornpetch also touched on the complexity of the candidates’ backgrounds, suggesting that voters should look beyond mere political affiliations. “Sure, some candidates might have ties to specific parties, but we shouldn’t confine our judgment to these associations alone. It’s far more prudent to evaluate these new senators based on their actual performance.”

A significant change with this new Senate, Pornpetch highlighted, would be its lack of authority in selecting a new prime minister in parliament—a stark contrast to the outgoing Senate. This outgoing group, dubbed “provisional,” held a unique status under the special provision of the 2017 constitution, allowing it to partake in the prime ministerial selection process.

Reflecting on the journey of the outgoing Senate, which served from May 11, 2019, to May 10 this year, we see a body born out of pivotal historical events. Named the country’s 12th Senate, it was the first formed following the 2014 coup that unseated the caretaker government appointed after the removal of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra by a Constitutional Court ruling.

In a bittersweet farewell, caretaker senators assembled one last time in front of the parliament complex with a picturesque backdrop of the Chao Phraya River. They immortalized their tenure with a final group photograph, a symbolic closing chapter that mirrored their influential, albeit contentious, role in Thailand’s contemporary political tapestry.


  1. Vanessa B June 19, 2024

    This election will definitely shake things up in Bangkok! It’s good to see the MFP making strides – they might just bring the fresh air our Senate desperately needs.

    • Krit June 19, 2024

      It’s naive to think MFP will change anything. They’re just another political faction looking for power.

      • Monchai June 19, 2024

        Krit, you’re too cynical. We need to give new parties a chance to prove themselves.

      • Vanessa B June 19, 2024

        Krit, that’s pretty harsh. Every party starts somewhere – let’s see what they can do before writing them off.

    • Sirikorn June 19, 2024

      Exactly, Vanessa. And their presence might mean more checks and balances.

  2. Chang J June 19, 2024

    Finally, a Senate election not dictated by the military! The last Senate’s involvement in picking the PM was a farce.

    • Lamphun June 19, 2024

      Chang J, people forget that stability comes from strong governance. The military might not be perfect, but they kept things in check.

    • Annie Phan June 19, 2024

      Strong governance should come from elected officials, not the military. Democracy needs to flourish.

    • Chang J June 19, 2024

      Lamphun, stability at the cost of freedom isn’t worth it. Annie has a point – we need real democracy.

  3. Pat June 19, 2024

    If the EC can ensure a fair election, we might actually see some positive changes.

    • Jitlada N June 19, 2024

      Fair elections in Thailand? That’s a joke! The EC has always had biases.

    • Pat June 19, 2024

      Jitlada, we have to hope for progress. Constant skepticism won’t help.

    • Harit June 19, 2024

      Pat, hoping without action won’t achieve anything. We need to push for transparency and accountability.

  4. Somsak June 19, 2024

    I don’t trust any politician, regardless of party. They’re all the same once they get power.

  5. Lina June 19, 2024

    Very telling how the outgoing Senate needed military backing to be influential. Real power comes from the people’s vote.

    • Thida June 19, 2024

      True that, Lina! Elections should be about representing the people’s will.

    • Sathit June 19, 2024

      It’s not that simple. Sometimes the people’s will can be misguided. Stability is important too.

  6. Sunisa June 19, 2024

    The diversity in the new Senate will be interesting to watch. Hopefully it brings better governance.

  7. Guru99 June 19, 2024

    Independent candidates? Let’s see how many are truly independent and not just disguised cronies.

    • Praj June 19, 2024

      You’re right, Guru99. Too many times we see ‘independents’ who are secretly aligned with major parties.

  8. Peachy June 19, 2024

    Don’t trust any of them. Watch out for vote buying! It’s still rampant.

  9. Natta BW June 19, 2024

    This Senate’s lack of authority to choose the PM is a huge step forward. Makes their role more about legislation and less about power games.

  10. Mint June 19, 2024

    True, but it also means someone else will fill that power vacuum. Politics are never straightforward.

  11. Jo June 19, 2024

    Finally, the old senators are gone. Maybe now policies will reflect more modern views.

    • Dream June 19, 2024

      It’s not about age, Jo. It’s about ideology. Young or old, if they’re corrupt, it won’t matter.

  12. Lek June 19, 2024

    Diverse backgrounds of the candidates sound promising. Let’s hope they utilize their experiences to drive meaningful discussions.

  13. Coolcat45 June 19, 2024

    If the past is any indicator, we are in for more of the same rhetoric. Let’s see if Pornpetch’s optimism is justified.

    • Somchai June 19, 2024

      Coolcat45, don’t be so pessimistic. Sometimes optimism is the spark for change.

    • Aum June 19, 2024

      But Somchai, blind optimism leads to disappointment. We should be cautiously hopeful.

  14. Tommy June 19, 2024

    I wonder how much power lobbying will influence this new Senate. It could undermine any positive changes.

    • Bee June 19, 2024

      Tommy, lobbying is inevitable in politics. The real issue is ensuring it doesn’t cross into corruption.

    • Tommy June 19, 2024

      Bee, while I agree, the line between lobbying and corruption often blurs.

  15. Num June 19, 2024

    Election irregularities shouldn’t be tolerated. EC must crack down hard to restore trust in the system.

  16. Jane June 19, 2024

    Watching the outgoing senators pose for a final photo is bittersweet. Despite their flaws, they played a key historical role.

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