Election Day in Thailand


Thai voters are going to the polls today to decide their collective political future. While the current coup government would like to see the democratic party win the majority of seats a lot of rural Thais would like to see the PPP party take the majority of seats. Either way Thailand is in for an uncertain political future.

The PPP ( People Power Party ) has made no attempt to hide the fact that they are basically the Thai Rak Thai party reborn. The Thai Rak Thai party was dissolved by the Thai courts earlier this year, and more than 100 party executives were barred from political office. In recent days many of the PPP candidates have stated that if the PPP gains power they will bring back ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra from his self imposed exile abroad in London. This alone could create the makings of another coup if the PPP gains power. Although, senior military officials within the government have stated that there will not be any coup attempts regardless of the election results.

It’s doubtful that any of the 31 political parties in Thailand will get a landslide majority. With 3984 candidates vying for 480 seats in the house of representatives and 45 million eligible voters it’s hard to guess just what will happen. My girlfriend was leaving her family’s fish farm in Nakom Phanom today heading for Mukdahan to vote and she was still uncertain who she would be voting for when we talked this morning.

The new constitution put forth by the military government included a new electoral system whereby voters can choose both individual candidates and party preferences which has not done much more than confuse the already beleaguered Thai voters. As of a week ago many Thai’s still didn’t understand the new voting policies in regards to parties and the new voting system.

Ex pats are watching the election with hope. Since the coup took place over a year ago many ex pats have held off on making permanent plans or buying housing due to the uncertainty of where they will fit in. Since the coup new visa regulations have been introduced and no one knows what the new government will bring to the table.

Hopefully the elections go well and the new government is able to bring all the people together, but with 18 coup’s behind them already only time will be able to tell Thailand’s political future.

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