TDRI warns political parties of excessive campaign spending and economic risk

Image Courtesy of Bangkok Post

The Thailand Development Research Institute (TDRI) has issued a warning to major political parties that their primary election campaign projects might be unnecessary as an economic stimulus, given that the country is not currently experiencing a recession.

Yesterday, TDRI published a report intended to study and analyse the budget management of political parties, offering recommendations for adapting their future strategies.

The analysis focused on the policies of six leading political parties: Pheu Thai, Palang Pracharath Party (PPRP), United Thai Nation (UTN) Party, Democrat Party, Bhumjaithai Party, and Move Forward Party (MFP). The TDRI discovered that most parties proposed policies which may lead to excessive budget spending if they were elected to office. This could negatively impact the economy, increasing public debt and threatening economic stability, reports Bangkok Post.

The institute also highlighted that the majority of their financial policies could lead to increased financial burdens.

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As of last month, policies from four parties amounted to a combined cost of one trillion baht.

Bhumjaithai was identified as potentially the highest spender, with a minimum of 1.9 trillion baht allocated for financing its campaign policy. This was followed by MFP with 1.3 trillion baht and PPRP with one trillion baht, according to TDRI.

The TDRI study also expressed concerns regarding the budget management plans submitted by the six parties to the Election Commission (EC).

Bhumjaithai was found to have provided an incomplete report on its proposed spending, missing details on numerous policies, such as the three-year debt moratorium. Although these policies appeared on the party’s website, they were absent from the submitted report.

TDRI also deemed Pheu Thai’s outlook on economic expansion to be excessively optimistic. Several of the party’s policies, including the flagship 10,000-baht digital wallet programme, may face difficulties in securing finances for implementation and could complicate national budget management.

Regarding MFP’s campaign, the party managed to offer a comprehensive explanation of how it would obtain funds to enact its policies. However, TDRI questioned the risk of not being able to collect sufficient taxes to cover MFP’s projects. Some of these initiatives involve significant reforms to current practices, which may lead to resistance and render the policies unpopular.

As for PPRP, the party’s budget management plan appears unclear as the spending details for several projects were missing. This issue was also observed in the Democrat policies.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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