The Thai stock market fell sharply on Monday, following the announcement of the general election results.
The Move Forward Party, a progressive opposition party that campaigned on a platform of constitutional reform and anti-corruption, won a surprise majority of seats in the parliament, ending the military-backed government’s rule.
The SET index, which tracks the performance of the largest and most liquid companies in Thailand, dropped by 3.2% to close at 1,534.72 points, its lowest level since March. Analysts attributed the sell-off to the uncertainty and instability that the election outcome could bring to the country’s political and economic situation.
Big government feared
The Move Forward Party has vowed to push for a new constitution that would limit the power of the monarchy and the military, which have been accused of interfering in the democratic process and violating human rights. The party also plans to increase public spending on health care, education and social welfare, and to raise taxes on the wealthy and large corporations.
However, the party faces many challenges and obstacles in implementing its agenda. The military still holds significant influence over the judiciary and the senate, which could block or delay any constitutional amendments. The party also has to deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has severely affected Thailand’s tourism-dependent economy and public health system.
The market reaction reflects the fears and doubts that many investors and businesses have about the future direction of Thailand under a Move Forward Party-led government. Some worry that the party’s policies could undermine the country’s fiscal discipline, competitiveness and growth prospects. Others fear that the party’s confrontational stance could trigger a backlash from the royalist and conservative forces, leading to social unrest and violence.
The Move Forward Party has tried to reassure the public and the markets that it will pursue a pragmatic and inclusive approach to governance, respecting the monarchy and seeking dialogue with all stakeholders. The party has also stressed that it will uphold the rule of law and protect the rights and freedoms of all citizens.
The next few months will be crucial for Thailand’s political transition and economic recovery. The Move Forward Party will have to prove that it can deliver on its promises and address the country’s pressing challenges, while maintaining stability and harmony. The market will also have to adjust to the new reality and expectations that the election result has created.