Thailand Will Have a Competitive Legislature Election

On May 14, Thailand will hold elections following nearly a decade of governance run by the military. Voters will be able to select between backing Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha and opposition groups like Pheu Thai and Move Forward. The 69-year-old Prayuth, a former head of the army, overthrew the government in a coup in 2014. Subsequent rulings by the courts allowed him to continue in office. Of Thailand’s population of over 65 million, almost 52 million are eligible to vote for representatives in the new House of Representatives, which will have 500 seats and four-year mandates.

 

One ballot is for a local representative, while the other is for a national political party. The victorious candidates will have 400 seats, while the parties will have 100 seats. A prime minister candidate may be nominated by parties that win more than 25 seats. The assembly will likely hold a vote on those candidates in August. The 500-seat House and the 250-seat Senate make up the two houses of the legislature. The military rewrote Thailand’s constitution in 2017. The majority of the senators, who were appointed by a military organization, have supported the parties in power.

 

The affluent Shinawatra family controls the political party Pheu Thai. As with previous elections, it enjoys a significant advantage in opinion polls. Both Yingluck and her brother Thaksin Shinawatra served as prime ministers in the past. In 2006, a military coup ousted Thaksin from government. In 2014, Yingluck was overthrown in yet another coup. They are currently exiled. Paetongtarn, the 36-year-old daughter of Thaksin, is a candidate for the party, though. Another well-supported opposition party is Move Forward. Young people tend to vote for the party. It aims to alter Thailand’s political and economic systems.

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