Thais Cast Ballots Marking "A Return to Democracy"
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. Early exit polls show the Pheu Thai party of former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra as winning the most seats, well ahead of Phalang Pracharat, the prime minister's party. But this is unlikely to be enough for Pheu Thai to win the government. News channel Thai PBS forecast Pheu Thai would win 163 out of 500 parliamentary seats with Palang Pracharat expected to pick up 96 seats. A poll by Dusit University had Pheu Thai winning 173 seats and Palang Pracharat winning 96 seats. From Pheu Thai’s perspective, the early result was slightly above expectations. 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... If you wish to read this full breaking news headline, plus more articles from around Thailand and Asia like, Thais Cast Ballots Marking "A Return to Democracy", simply click on 'Read full story' below, but 1st please give us a 'LIKE' or 'SHARE' before you leave. Thank you
Published By: VOA NEWS - Sunday, 24 March
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