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Thailand’s new party Future Forward offers hope – if junta will let it

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“Thanathorn from Future Forward? He is my idol. He has got great policy ideas. Plus, he believes in democracy.”

It is a Saturday evening in Bangkok’s Ratchathewi District, close to the heart of this 10 million-strong metropolis. It is peak rush hour; traffic is barely moving and the pavements teem with pedestrians dashing to the nearest BTS railway station as they head home.

Team Ceritalah is sitting with 26-year-old Teerapon Thetkerd. There is an air of anxiety – of uneasiness – as the city, not to mention the rest of the country, waits for its next general election.

After four years of military rule, Thais are ready for a return to democracy. In March, 30 parties submitted their registration papers, including the newly founded Future Forward Party.

In fact, the party, led by 39-year-old billionaire-entrepreneur Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit – whose family owns manufacturing giant Thai Summit Group – was also established that month.

With seven hundred or so........

© South China Morning Post