Thais will soon be choosing a prime minister, as Thailand looks to reshape its economy as the country’s political crisis deepens and the country prepares to elect a new leader in 2019.
Thailand’s main opposition party, the People’s Action Party (PAP), is looking to replace former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra, who has been in jail since February for corruption.
A parliamentary vote on a new prime minister is expected to be held in October.
The opposition has been calling for Yingluck’s release for months, citing allegations of abuse of power and abuse of public funds, and said it would not tolerate any political manipulation of the election.
In a tweet on Sunday, the opposition said it had submitted a petition to the Supreme Court to remove Yingluck from office.
It called on the country to end the current political crisis that has seen Yingluck suspended and accused the opposition of inciting violence and inciting riots.
The PAP, which has a majority in the lower house of parliament, has repeatedly said it will not accept a new election, even if Yingluck steps down.
The party has faced criticism for failing to hold parliamentary elections in 2015 and for not taking the necessary steps to hold a presidential election, which is scheduled for 2018.
The ruling party also faces a growing economic crisis that is hurting its ability to generate economic growth and has been forced to impose new restrictions on its business activities.
The country has already imposed a 10 percent tax on imports, a 30 percent tax for exports, and a 10-percent tax on foreign transactions.
The government has said it wants to tax goods worth at least 2,000 baht (US$1,000) per person, though this has not yet been implemented.
The government has been struggling to rein in a growing middle class and lower-income people, while also trying to restore a sluggish economy that has been hit by an economic crisis since 2014.
The economy shrank by 6.4 percent in 2018, according to the National Bureau of Statistics.
The economy grew by 5.2 percent in 2019, the last year for which data is available, and it grew by 3.5 percent in 2020, according the National Statistical Office.