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Thailand Dissolves Parliament ahead of General Election

March 21, 2023, 02.53 PM

BANGKOK, - Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha dissolved Parliament on Monday, March 20, to set up a general election in May.

Prayuth, who led a 2014 coup, is seeking a fresh mandate to extend army-backed rule. The main opposition is the Pheu Thai party, controlled by the billionaire Shinawatra family.

Pheu Thai and its earlier incarnations have won every election since 2001 and remain popular among the urban and rural working classes.

How the dissolution and the elections work

According to an announcement by the Royal Gazette, King Maha Vajiralongkorn has endorsed a decree to dissolve Parliament.

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"This is a return of political decision-making power to the people swiftly to continue democratic government with the King as head of state," said the decree published on Monday.

The election must be held 45 to 60 days after the Parliament's dissolution.

This will be the second election since the 2014 coup and the first since the country was rocked by youth-led pro-democracy protests in Bangkok in 2020.

Politicians have been on the unofficial campaign trail for weeks, with rising living costs and the kingdom's slow recovery from the coronavirus pandemic high on the campaign agenda.

Thai voters choose members of parliament, which in conjunction with the Senate will select a prime minister by the end of July.

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A Cabinet will be named by early August, according to a timeline provided by Thailand's government.

Who are the favorites for the election?

According to opinion polls, Pheu Thai's Paetongtarn Shinawatra is the frontrunner to be prime minister. The 36-year-old would be the third member of her family to be prime minister in the past two decades. Her father Thaksin held office from 2001-2006, and his sister Yingluck from 2011-2014.


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