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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs          4   July  2011

Democrats hold Bangkok

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The Democrat Party won a clear majority of seats in Bangkok, contrary to the results of exit polls suggesting a tight race with Pheu Thai.

Mid-afternoon exit polls suggested the large support for Pheu Thai found elsewhere in the country had spilled over into Bangkok, a traditional stronghold of the Democrats.

Party officials viewed with growing concern the exit polls suggesting a tight race. The unofficial result, released last night, came as a relief, as it showed the gap between the Democrats and its nearest rival had opened significantly.

The results of exit polls were revealed immediately after 3 pm, when voting closed. They reported that Pheu Thai won more than 20-25 MP seats in Bangkok and that the party had a chance of seizing victory in the capital.

But at 10 pm, when counting stopped, the Election Commission reported the unofficial result of the election which found that the Democrats had managed to win 23 of 33 seats in Bangkok, while Pheu Thai won 10 seats.

Four years ago, the Democrats won 27 of 36 seats in Bangkok. Pheu Thai, formerly known as the People Power Party, won only nine seats.

The number of MP seats in Bangkok dropped to 33 under a new electoral system.

Dr Buranaj said the exit polls in the general election should be conducted transparently and carefully.

Bangkok residents yesterday turned out in large numbers to vote for their favourite candidates and parties despite scattered rain across the province.

Many people queued up to vote long before their polling stations opened and congested traffic was reported on several roads where polling stations were located. Election officials in many polling stations said they were certain almost 80 percent of voters came to polling stations in Bangkok.

Nongphanga Boonpak, director of Sai Mai District Office, confirmed the high voter turnout, saying more than 70 percent of eligible voters in her district came out to cast their votes at 196 polling stations yesterday.

However, the Democratic swing in Bangkok could not help 0utgoing Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva. He announced his resignation as leader of the Democrat Party on Monday morning. Mr. Abhisit made the announcement after the Pheu Thai Party crushed his party in the 2011 general election yesterday.

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This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

The first issue that can’t be answered is the health of Thailand’s beloved King Bhumibol, who is now 83 years old. He is the world's longest reigning monarch, but elaborate birthday celebrations in December failed to mask concern over his health. More


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