New Progressive Platform Promises New Alternative in Polarized Thai Politics

Originally aired on Channel NewsAsia on March 15, 2018

The 38-year billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit is entering politics with his new political party "Future Forward" (or "New Future" in Thai), offering a "new progressive alternative" amidst the ongoing political polarization of the past decade.

TRANSCRIPT

Even before its existence, there was some considerate buzz and hype about the new political platform of 38-year old billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit.

This platform has been revealed as the “New Future” Party, or “Future Forward” to use its English name. 

The party presents itself as a new, alternative and progressive political platform with a lot of new young blood. 

The 27 founding members are - for Thai standards - a diverse group of young entrepreneurs, social activists and progressive thinkers. 

Thanathorn himself, whose family runs a successful car parts business, was a social activist in his earlier life and his uncle Suriya was a cabinet member under prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

But he insists that his new political platform will be above the politics polarization that has plagued Thai politics the past decade. 

THANATHORN JUANROONGRUANGKIT; Co-Founder Forward Future Party:
"The Forward Future Party will not be an alternative, but a mainstream party. We will be the main voice that paves the way to fixing democracy in order move society forward. We will not be an alternative, but the main party to fix democracy. Every political party will be a competitor to us. We will fight against in every race, every district - for every vote from every sector of society."

The big question going forward for the “Future Forward” Party is how they will reach out and win over as many people as they can in as many places as they can, especially in those places the established parties have a strong foothold.

Because its one thing to gain a following online, it’s a whole another thing to translate that into votes.

Another hurdle that this and other political parties new and old are facing are the current restrictions by the military government that outlaws any form of campaigning so far - that’s also the reason why they can’t announce any policies at this moment. 

However it is very clear that the “New Future” sets itself up as a democratic party and will oppose any non-democratic interference, given the possibility of a prolonged military influence in some shape or form. 

However, we’re some time away from a democratic election which have been repeatedly delayed and are now slated for February 2019 - but that’s still not a certainty.

Saksith Saiyasombut, Channel NewsAsia, Bangkok