Thailand Elections – Your Questions Answered!

Tomorrow, Thailand will be holding their elections amid a series of anti-government protests sweeping across the country.

Why does tension exist?

The country is politically divided. Those protesting are mostly from the middle class and do not want the election to take place. The Democratic Party are also refusing to take part in the election. However, the Pheu Thai Party (who are the current governing party) want the election to take place. Its supporters, who mainly live rurally, also want the election to take place.

thai

Why the opposition?

Those protesting strongly believe the president is being influenced by her brother (the former Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra). Mr Thaksin, when in power, was found guilty of corruption and now lives in exile.

The election

The governing party have won the last 5 elections, so it is likely they would win again even without the Democratic Party boycott. However, it is believed that without opposition to the government party the results will not be truly democratic. If the government are to win, the problems in the country are set to continue. Even more concerning is the fact that some candidates for the election are unable to resister meaning that a government win is likely to mean not enough members will be elected for the new parliament.

The Voting

Voting poll stations have been obstructed my many protesters. At one polling station protesters padlocked the gates shut, so nobody could vote. Other stations have seen voters harassed and intimidated as to stop people voting. Many of the polling station were closed (including all of them in Bangkok) which is likely to significantly reduce the voter turnout further reducing the democratic legitimacy of the results. However, Suthep Thaugsuban (one of the main leaders of the protest) has told protesters to allow voters to case their vote.

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