Mon, 01 Jun 2020

Military-backed Palang Pracharat party takes lead in Thai elections

By Jay Jackson, Boston News.Net
25 Mar 2019, 06:14 GMT+10

BANGKOK, Thailand - In the first election in the country, since the military-back coup in 2014, 52 million Thais were eligible to turn out to vote on Sunday.

With about 90% of votes counted, the military-backed Palang Pracharat party had a narrow lead over Pheu Thai, a political party supported by exiled former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

Palang Pracharat had 7 million votes, while Pheu Thai had collated 6.6 million votes.

The commission said it would announce the final results on Monday at 10:00am local time.

Similar to Myanmar, the new Thailand will have a consitution which gives the military a major say in the conduct of the country's affairs,

The Thai 'parliament' consists of two houses - the upper house and the lower house.

Sunday's election was for the 500-seat lower house.

The 250-seat upper house or senate will be appointed by the Thai miliary.

Prayuth Chan-ocha, the ex-army general who mounted the coup against the democratically-elected government in 2014, is likely to be gerry-mandered into retaining the prime minister role which he adopted after the coup.

"Assuming that the elections were fair, which might be debatable, this was the final piece of a five-year plan to fruition; a coup, an undemocratic constitution and an election that comes out in favour of the military," David Streckfuss, an independent historian based in Khon Kaen in the northeast, told Al Jazeera. 

"They will claim that now they are legitimate."

Commenting on Future Forward's strong performance, he said: "The one good thing about this election and something that might bode well for the future is that the Future Forward party achieved a surprisingly good result given the youth of the party."

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