Thailand held elections today, Sunday (14/5/2023), with the daughter of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra favored to be the winner. Photos/Illustrations
BANGKOK – General election voting (election) Thailand has started, Sunday (14/5/2023), where the daughter of the ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra is the champion to win the fight.
The election has been described as a turning point for the country which has experienced a dozen military coups in its recent history.
Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, the army general who led the last coup in 2014, is trying to stay in power.
But he faces strong challenges from two anti-military parties.
Leading the race is the Pheu Thai (For Thai people) party, led by Thaksin’s daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra. The 36-year-old woman tapped into her father’s extensive network of protections while sticking to the populist message that resonates in rural, low-income areas of the country.
Thaksin, a billionaire telecommunications billionaire, is loved by many low-income Thais but hugely unpopular among the royalist elite. He was ousted in a military coup in 2006, when his opponents accused him of corruption. He has denied the accusations and has lived in exile since 2008 in London and Dubai.
“I think after eight years the people want better politics, better solutions for the country than just a coup,” Paetongtarn told the BBC in a recent interview.
Another contender is the Move Forward party, led by Pita Limjaroenrat, a 42-year-old former technology executive, who is also rising fast in opinion polls. Its young, progressive and ambitious candidate has campaigned for a simple but powerful message: Thailand needs to change.
“And the change really isn’t about staging a coup anymore. Because it’s a backwards shift. It’s about reforming the military, the monarchy, for a democratic future, with better economic performance,” said Thitinan Pongsudhirak, of the Institute of Security and International Studies at Chulalongkorn University as reported by the BBC.