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Thai Military-Backed Party in Lead in Thai Elections

Thais voted Sunday in an election called a return to democratic rule, but which has been widely criticized as an exercise designed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha to entrench his military’s stranglehold on power. Counting began immediately after polls closed at 5 p.m. Exit polls had indicated a strong showing for the Pheu Thai party of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra but initial officials results released Sunday had the military backed Phalang Pracharat party in the lead. The campaign was marred by allegations of vote buying, however, complaints were few on polling day with election observers from Australia, Canada, the United States and the 10 members of the Association of South East Asian Nations on hand. Security was tight and opinions were mixed as about 52 million Thais voted. But the long shadow of the military is still having an impact, most of those willing to express an opinion declined to be identified. Some were positive about the outcomes, particularly among the youth vote. A hotel receptionist said before voting, “I have my choice in my mind, it’s good for me, I like it.” Another said she had faith in a political system guided by the military and Thailand's 20th constitution, written after 13 coups since 1932, “We are very confident with the election today, it is going to be democratic and fair to the society.” Others remained angry about the coup in 2014, which ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and installed General Prayut as head of a junta that curtailed civil liberties and banned political opposition. “The coup is a really terrible thing that happened to our country. You can not say what you want or what you think, you can not protest because they will take you to the jail,” she said. Her sentiments were echoed by others who said... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Thai Military-Backed Party in Lead in Thai Elections, simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you Thai Military-Backed Party in Lead in Thai Elections

 

 

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Published By: VOA NEWS - Sunday, 24 March

 

 

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