Opposition parties are ahead in the Thailand's parliamentary elections

 Youth led MFP emerges as single largest party ahead of Pheu Thai in a closely contested election


The opposition Pro-democracy parties in Thailand has taken lead in May 14 parliamentary election.  As the 80% votes have been counted so far, the pro-democracy parties are leading the race. The Thai voters rejected the pro-military parties. The youth led liberal Move Forward Party (MFP) has surprisingly emerged as the single largest party in the lower house. It is expected to win nearly 148 seats (115 constituency seats and 33 proportional representation seats) out of 500 are on the grab.  

The other opposition party Pheu Thai is expected to win 137 seats. Pheu Thai is likely to win 112 constituency seats and 25 party seats. The Thai voters elect 400 seats directly through the constituencies while remaining 100 seats are allocated on the basis of party votes. Thailand’s voters cast two ballots, one in the first-past-the-post race and the other for proportional party representation.

Both parties are likely to win 285 seats out of 500. The centrist Bhumjaithai party which emerged as a king-maker in the 2019 election on a vow to decriminalize marijuana is in third place with 67 seats.

Palang Pracharat, led by the prime minister’s Deputy Prawith Wongsuwan, looks set to win 40 constituency seats and 1 of the party list seats.

Prayuth’s United Thai Nation party will probably win 25 of the constituency seats and 10 of the party list seats. The Democrat Party is on track to win 20 of the constituency seats and 2 of the party list seats.

Move Forward Party (MFP) showed its strength most dramatically in the capital, Bangkok, where it is poised to sweep all but one of the 33 constituency seats. That signaled urban voters’ dissatisfaction with Pheu Thai and the ruling Palang Pracharath.

Still, even a landslide win for pro-democracy parties won’t guarantee a clear path to power: under a constitution promulgated in 2017, the 250 military-appointed senators get to vote alongside the 500 elected lower house members to decide on the next prime minister. Thailand casts two ballots, one in the first-past-the-post race and the other for proportional party representation.

While the military first seized power from the democratically elected government in 2014, Thailand’s army chief said ahead of this election there was “zero chance” of the Southeast Asian nation returning to a military rule in the event of post-election turmoil.

The Election Commission secretary-general told reporters earlier in the day that vote proceeded smoothly, signaling no significant irregularities. Approximately 52 million Thais were eligible to vote, and more than 90% of about 2.3 million people who registered for early polling did so last week.

In addition, some of the top parties had multiple candidates for the job. The Election Commission may take up to two months to confirm the members of the lower house, according to the electoral rules. The joint houses will then convene to pick the country’s next leader.

                                                                        Khalid Bhatti 


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