The 2019 election calendar is a busy one in Southeast and South Asia, with a general election in Thailand, presidential and parliamentary elections in Indonesia, a parliamentary election in India and midterm elections in the Philippines.
Why should investors take notice?
Political stability is important for investor confidence, policy continuity and transparency—the bedrocks of any business-friendly environment. National elections also determine whether or not there will be a stable regime. Another important factor pertains to growth: except for the Philippines, all the economies have been dogged by a lack of inward investment as private investors went into wait-and-see mode ahead of national elections. Stable governments could be rewarded by increased private investment and foreign direct investment (FDI). Against a backdrop of stability, improved growth should set a solid platform for markets.
- The election should support a transition back to a democratic regime that may return the country to a position of greater legitimacy among its global peers.
- The election is likely to be a complex process given the adoption of a new system that is designed to allocate more seats to medium-size parties relative to large parties.
- A strong showing by the military would likely buoy the stock market, as this would be a status quo, pro-growth scenario.
Thailand’s general election, to be held March 24, 2019, will be its first democratic election since the military coup in May 2014 and the first general election in nine years. The election should support a transition back to a democratic regime that may give Thailand greater legitimacy among its global peers. That said, military oversight will be part of the country’s governance for at least the next five years, courtesy of an appointed, military-backed Senate whose approval is required to make changes to the Constitution or to the military’s 20-year blueprint for national development.
With results to be declared by May 9, 2019, according to a constitutional timeline, parliament is required to convene within 15 days following that to elect a new prime minister. This suggests Thailand will have a new elected government within the first half of June 2019.