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Thailand's Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha speaks during a news conference in Bangkok, Thailand.

REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha

What We're Watching: Thai PM suspended, US strikes Iran in Syria, Macron woos Algeria

Thai PM in limbo

On Wednesday, Thailand's top court suspended PM Prayuth Chan-ocha while it decides whether his term in office started when he took over in a 2014 coup or when he was “elected” five years later. If the court decides the former, Prayuth would be removed for exceeding the constitutional limit of eight years in power. Such a verdict would likely fire up the youth-led protests demanding his resignation, which started with a bang in 2020 but soon ended with a whimper following a crackdown on their leaders for questioning the role of the monarchy. The ruling drops in two weeks, and until then Prayuth's deputy — who also took part in the 2014 power grab — is in charge. Fun fact: the eight-year limit was put in place by the military to target deposed former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, whose sister Yingluck was ousted by Prayuth. Guess who's likely running for PM in the next election? Thaksin's millenial daughter, Paetongtarn.

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People hold signs and mock-up joints while celebrating World Cannabis Day in Bangkok.

Peerapon Boonyakiat / SOPA Image via Reuters Connect

Getting (legally) stoned in the Land of Smiles is … tricky

Thailand, famous for having some of the toughest anti-drug laws in the world, recently became the first Asian country to decriminalize cannabis. Still, a tangle of laws — and messy domestic politics — make it unclear whether recreational use and possession will be prosecuted now, or in the future. Huh? We asked Eurasia Group analyst Peter Mumford to make sense of it all.

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Paetongtarn Shinawatra

Annie Gugliotta (image with CC license)

Can Thaksin rule again in Thailand?

Get ready for some major political trouble later this year in the Land of Smiles.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the youngest daughter of deposed former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra, is mulling a run for her dad’s old job. Over the weekend, Paetongtarn — Thais go by their given name — got a lot of buzz at the assembly of Thaksin’s Pheu Thai Party, calling for a landslide victory in a snap election expected to be called in November.

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Twitter suspends Thai royalist account linked to influence campaign

November 30, 2020 7:23 AM

There were tens of thousands of tweets appeared to be from accounts amplifying royalist messaging.

Thai protesters move to Bangkok suburbs

November 28, 2020 9:03 PM

BANGKOK (REUTERS) - Thai anti-government protesters demonstrated in Bangkok's outskirts on Saturday (Nov 28) with a duck parade and speeches demanding the removal of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, a new constitution and reforms to the monarchy.

Thai King greets supporters even as rallies go on

November 26, 2020 5:00 AM

Thailand's beleaguered king greeted adoring crowds in central Bangkok yesterday as protesters massed outside a palace-linked bank demanding monarchy reform.

What We’re Watching: Thai king is untouchable, Ugandan challenger arrested, US caves on Mexico DEA threat

No reform for Thai monarchy: Defying the wishes of thousands of pro-democracy activists and protesters, Thailand's parliament declined to move forward constitutional reforms that would curb the powers of the king. The vote had been delayed until Wednesday due to violent clashes between protesters, royalists and the police that left 55 people injured and put inflatable rubber ducks in the crossfire. Shortly after parliament's decision, Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha warned that he would use "all available laws" to end the protests, which have been going on for months, signaling that he might start enforcing Thailand's draconian lèse majesté law, which punishes any offense of perceived insult to the royal family with up to 15 years in prison. Will the streets stand down, or is the situation about to get worse?

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Thai Parliament to meet on charter vote as fresh protests loom

November 17, 2020 7:18 AM

Lawmakers will discuss the constitution amendment on Tuesday.

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