Polling stations open for Thai general elections

Polling stations open for Thai general elections

Bangkok, May 14 (EFE).- Polling stations opened their doors Sunday for general elections in Thailand, where the opposition started as the clear favorite after a decade of government linked to the military under the command of Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha.

Some 52 million Thais are called to vote on this election day, considered one of the most important in recent decades, since it could mean a change of government in the event of a defeat for Prayut, the current prime minister.

Nearly 90,000 polling stations throughout the country opened their doors at 08:00 local time (01:00 GMT) and will close at 17:00 (10:00 GMT), although voters who are inside the premises by then will be able to deposit their ballot later.

Thais will have to choose their representatives to occupy the 500 seats in the House of Representatives, of which 400 will be elected by constituency and another 100 by party list.

The election of the prime minister, however, will be carried out through a joint vote in parliament, where in addition to the 500 parliamentarians of the Lower House out of the elections, the 250 members of the Senate, chosen by the former military junta, will also vote. .

The electoral race was marked by the leading role of the two main opposition parties, Pheu Thai and Move Forward, which together would amass more than 70 percent of the votes, according to the most recent polls.

The latest polls show the Pheu Thai, headed by the powerful Shinawatra family – whose political formation was removed from power in the 2014 coup, leads polls with more than 38 percent of voting intentions, while the reformist Move Forward accumulates 33 pecent.

A victory for Pheu Thai would see the return of the powerful Shinawatra family to power, this time at the hands of Paetongtarn Shinawatra, daughter of exiled oligarch Taksin Shinawatra and favored prime minister.

Likewise, Sunday’s elections could mean a strengthening of democracy in the country, especially amid strong political activism of the younger generations, who grew up under successive military coups and are urging a change in the system.

Young people mainly support Move Forward, led by its candidate for prime minister, Pita Limjaroenrat, and whose agenda is more focused on democratizing the country and ending the inequality that plagues Thai society.

For its part, the pro-military formation with the most support among the nearly 70 parties contesting these elections is the United Thai Nation, led by Prayut and which ranks third in the polls, with 12 percent of support.

The general aspires to reelection in these elections, the first held in the country since the 2019 elections, held under the former military junta and which were described as not very transparent by international observers. EFE


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