Thailand’s junta-linked party in the lead after almost all ballots counted

Clay Curtis
March 25, 2019

The map, courtesy of Bangkok Post, shows that general voter sentiment was largely unchanged after five years of military rule with the north and north east still favoring the Pheu Thai (pro-Thaksin, pro-democracy) party, versus the rest of Thailand.

If the democrats carry through their promise to not align with the military or Peu Thai, if the progressive Future Forward Party also keeps their promise to not align, we may have a hung parliament where no side has the majority or no prime minister is nominated.

As a result, the PPRP is likely to win a higher number of party-list seats than Pheu Thai, based on the mixed-member proportional representation method used.

Pro-Thaksin parties are expected to win the largest number of seats in the House of Representatives.

With 93 percent of votes counted late Sunday, the Palang Pracharat party was first with almost 7.6 million votes, according to the Election Commission.

A new party, Future Forward, which became popular with young voters, has scooped up almost 4.8 million votes.

It was still not certain that the military's proxy party would secure enough seats in the lower house of parliament for Prayuth Chan-ocha to stay on as prime minister.

About 50 million people are expected to cast their vote in a political fight which is mostly between the military and the former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Khunying Sudarat, who is a party prime ministerial candidate, also assured party supporters that they would not be disappointed and their votes would not be wasted. "We had too many conflicts in the past and I want to see lots of people come out and vote".

The last time Thailand tried to hold an election in 2014, it ended with a military coup.

"While this seems to leave the political situation in a non-conclusive state ... the elections have gone rather smoothly", said Kobsidthi Silpachai, head of capital markets research of Kasikornbank.

Thailand's prime minister and junta leader has played golf after voting in the country's first election since the 2014 coup he led.

Dubai honors Jacinda Ardern by projecting image onto skyscraper
Many people responded to the tweet , with one person saying: "Our PM reflects the hearts of the New Zealand people". Farid Ahmed, who was at the Al Noor mosque when the shooting took place, escaped but his wife, Husna, was killed.

"I don't say it'll be a landslide".

"I thank the people who voted for the Democrat Party".

Another said she had faith in a political system guided by the military and Thailand's 20th constitution, written after 13 coups since 1932, "We are very confident with the election today, it is going to be democratic and fair to the society".

A pro-military party that wants junta leader Prayut Chan-o-cha to remain in power has taken a slight lead in Thailand's elections on Sunday, according to early results from the country's Election Commission, in what could be a blow to pro-democracy forces fighting to overcome authoritarian military rule.

"The Election Commission should address this issue because if the people feel they can not trust the results, there will be more problems to come", she said.

The weekend elections saw a last-minute Saturday admonition from the nation's king, Maha Vajiralongkorn, who warned that voters must follow "good" leaders as a means of preventing "chaos".

He urged government officials, soldiers and civil servants to look after national security.

The election was the latest chapter in a almost two-decade struggle pitching conservative forces including the military against the political machine of Thaksin Shinawatra, a tycoon who upended tradition-bound Thailand's politics with a populist political revolution.

Voting is underway in Thailand's first election since the military ousted an elected government in a 2014 coup.

That potentially gives ex-army chief Prayuth a major advantage if the junta-appointed Senate backs him en bloc.

The hashtag appeared to be a response to an unusual statement from Thai King Vajiralongkorn ahead of the vote, in which he encouraged voters to pick "good people" as their leaders and stop "bad people" from obtaining power and causing turmoil.

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