Elections kick off in Thailand with long lines at voting stations

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Elections Kick Off In Thailand With High Long Lines At Voting StationsHundreds of thousands of voters across Thailand were heading out on March 17 to cast early ballots, a week ahead the country’s first general election since a military coup in 2014. They have a single ballot to cast for their preferred constituency candidate. The ballot will also count as a vote for the candidate’s party in a separate list of seats up for grabs.

Around 2.6 million of over 51 million eligible voters have registered to vote outside their home constituencies in Thailand. They include over 928,000 who will cast their votes at 58 polling stations in the capital Bangkok.

In Bangkapi district, which recorded the highest number of registered early voters, at 61,401, queues started to form as early as 6am, two hours before voting opened. As part of voting regulations, alcohol sale and distribution have been suspended and political parties are not allowed to campaign close to the polling stations. Police have also been deployed to secure voting venues and manage traffic.

However, analysts don’t think that the elections will return Thailand back to a liberal democracy since the voting system has been designed to weaken political parties and ensure the military’s continuing role.

To win power, a party must secure a majority in both the houses of parliament. In the lower house, 350 members will be directly elected, with the remaining 150 awarded according to each party’s popularity in the polls. The 250-seat upper house will be appointed entirely by the armed forces. That means, while most parties will need to get 376 seats to secure power, the pro-military party Phalang Pracharat might only need to secure only 126. It has made no secret that it would appoint current prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha for the same role again.

Early 80 parties and more than 2,700 candidates will be competing for votes in the polls. Some seven million people will be voting for the first time.

The big names, aside Palang Pracharat, include the Democrat Party, anti-military Pheu Thai and Future Forward, a new party led by car parts tycoon Thanthorn Juangroongruangkit. But there are also other, mostly smaller, parties that have positioned themselves more neutrally.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Hundreds of thousands of voters across Thailand were heading out on March 17 to cast early ballots, a week ahead the country’s first general election since a military coup in 2014. They have a single ballot to cast for their preferred constituency candidate. The ballot will also count as a vote for the candidate’s party in a separate list of seats up for grabs.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Elections Kick Off In Thailand With High Long Lines At Voting StationsHundreds of thousands of voters across Thailand were heading out on March 17 to cast early ballots, a week ahead the country’s first general election since a military coup in 2014. They have a single ballot to cast for their preferred constituency candidate. The ballot will also count as a vote for the candidate’s party in a separate list of seats up for grabs.

Around 2.6 million of over 51 million eligible voters have registered to vote outside their home constituencies in Thailand. They include over 928,000 who will cast their votes at 58 polling stations in the capital Bangkok.

In Bangkapi district, which recorded the highest number of registered early voters, at 61,401, queues started to form as early as 6am, two hours before voting opened. As part of voting regulations, alcohol sale and distribution have been suspended and political parties are not allowed to campaign close to the polling stations. Police have also been deployed to secure voting venues and manage traffic.

However, analysts don’t think that the elections will return Thailand back to a liberal democracy since the voting system has been designed to weaken political parties and ensure the military’s continuing role.

To win power, a party must secure a majority in both the houses of parliament. In the lower house, 350 members will be directly elected, with the remaining 150 awarded according to each party’s popularity in the polls. The 250-seat upper house will be appointed entirely by the armed forces. That means, while most parties will need to get 376 seats to secure power, the pro-military party Phalang Pracharat might only need to secure only 126. It has made no secret that it would appoint current prime minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha for the same role again.

Early 80 parties and more than 2,700 candidates will be competing for votes in the polls. Some seven million people will be voting for the first time.

The big names, aside Palang Pracharat, include the Democrat Party, anti-military Pheu Thai and Future Forward, a new party led by car parts tycoon Thanthorn Juangroongruangkit. But there are also other, mostly smaller, parties that have positioned themselves more neutrally.

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