In a clear signal of disapproval of the military-backed government that has ruled Thailand for nearly a decade, opposition parties leading the early vote count are poised to win a significant number of seats in the country’s House of Representatives. With over 80% of the vote counted, the progressive Move Forward party was projected to win 114 of 400 constituency seats in the House of Representatives, while the Pheu Thai party was projected to take 112 constituency seats. In contrast, the party of the incumbent, Prayuth Chan-ocha, was projected to have only 25 constituency seats.
Prayuth Chan-ocha’s campaign has been characterized by a strong nationalistic agenda, with warnings that promised reform by opposition parties would bring chaos to the country. The Move Forward party, on the other hand, has gained significant support among young people and is the only party to promise to reform the lese-majesty law.
This election follows the youth-led protests of 2020, which shook the establishment by calling for curbs on the monarchy’s wealth and influence. The Move Forward party’s appeal to younger voters may be a reflection of this sentiment, as they seek to reform a law that has been used to silence critics of the monarchy.
Despite the success of the opposition parties in the House of Representatives, it remains unclear what the next government will look like. The 250 sitting members in the senate were appointed by the military after the last coup, and their loyalty to the military-backed government may prove difficult to overcome.
Thailand’s political landscape has been turbulent over the past decade, with frequent coups and protests. This election may signal a shift in the country’s political landscape, with younger voters pushing for change. The outcome of this election, however, will likely be determined not just by the popular vote but by the behind-the-scenes maneuverings of those in power.