By the Numbers: Impacts of Thailand’s Political Unrest

The data driving Asia

Ongoing political unrest in Thailand has imposed serious economic and political costs on the country. Although Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has called for snap elections to be held on February 2, the opposition Democrat Party has yet to decide whether it will take part, while anti-government protesters continue to call for Yingluck to step down.

The longer Thailand remains in political deadlock, the longer it will defer making important decisions necessary to reconcile the country and keep the economy competitive. We explore the political, economic, and security impacts of Thailand’s unrest by the numbers:

$68 billion

The sum that a new bill would allow the government to borrow to improve Thailand’s infrastructure. The Democrat Party filed a petition asking the Constitutional Court to rule on the bill’s constitutionality, and the judges are currently reviewing it. Economists have argued that the bill could boost Thailand’s global competitiveness and connectivity with neighboring countries.

Source: adaptorplug's flickr photostream, cropped under a creative commons license.

Demonstrators on their way to an antigovernment protest in Bangkok. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra has agreed to call snap elections amid the ongoing protests. Source: adaptorplug’s flickr photostream, cropped under a creative commons license.


The number of ASEAN leaders who attended the December 13-15 ASEAN-Japan summit in Tokyo. Yingluck was the only one absent, forcing her to miss negotiations with Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe on a possible bilateral swap line deal.


The number of currently scheduled peace negotiations between the government and the southern insurgent group Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN). The BRN entered into now-stalled peace negotiations with the government in February. BRN chief liaison Hassan Taib has demanded that Yingluck place peace negotiations on the national agenda, but the prospect of resuming them is slim until a new government is formed and fully operational.


The number of tourists Thailand lost in the first half of December. Tourism and its related industries account for about 15 percent of Thailand’s gross domestic product, with December being the busiest time of the year. Dozens of countries, including the United States, have issued travel warnings for Thailand out of fear that the anti-government protests could take a violent turn, as happened in 2010.


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