ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai general election shaping up
By David Swartzentruber
As three election bills head toward debate in the Thai parliament this week, the next Thai election is shaping up to be held in early July. Dissolution of parliament is expected no later than May 10 with the latest report indicating May 3.
It’s widely expected that the lineup of parties will remain the same after the election with the Democrat Party leading a coalition that is highly dependent on the Bhumjaithai party, which is strong in Northeast Thailand, to form the next government. Recently, two minor parties,
Bhumjaithai and Chart Thai Pattana, have formed an alliance indicating they will be the minor parties in the next government with either of the two major parties, the Democrats or Puea Thai.
The opposition, Puea Thai party, appears in some disarray. The de facto leader Thaksin Shinawatra ahs called in from who knows where and said it was too early to name a party leader, who would in fact, become prime minister if Puea Thai were successful. Earlier, there had been speculation that Thaksin would choose between former commerce minister Mingkwan Saengsuwan or his own sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, who is considered an outsider to be the party's candidate for the PM spot.
In another development, it is reported that veteran politician Chalerm Yubamrung has resigned as a party-list MP, but remains a member of the Puea Thai Party. Mr. Chalerm was the favorite of the party’s MPs to be the next leader but it appears that will not be the case.
Thai observers feel that the next election will resemble the recently concluded censure debate that was filled with wild accusations but with little substance to actually improve Thailand. The country has significant corruption at the governmental level and recent polls indicate that the majority of citizens would gladly sell their vote.
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