Early voting for the 2019 general election took place on Sunday (17 March), with the highest early voter turnout rate ever. However, the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) seemed unprepared. Early voters faced a long list of obstacles, including no lists of candidates, long waiting times and being given ballot papers for the wrong constituency.
Overseas voting for the upcoming 2019 general election began on 4 March and will continue until 16 March. However, many Thai voters living overseas are facing difficulties casting their votes in UK, US, China, Malaysia, Canada, South Africa, Russia, and Japan, from long waiting times at the poll to ballots not arriving in the mail.
On 7 March 2019, the Constitutional Court of Thailand ruled to dissolve the Thai Raksa Chart Party (TRC), claiming that the TRC’s nomination of former princess Ubolratana Mahidol as their candidate for Prime Minister was in opposition to the constitutional monarchy. To many, the verdict was not entirely unexpected. Nevertheless, the court’s ruling is another in a series of political earthquakes which have shaken Thailand in the period leading up to the general election on 24 March 2019, triggering a chain of reaction from the moment the verdict was delivered.
Prayut Chan-o-cha is losing the Thai pop culture war as the election date approaches. Anti-junta groups are not convinced by the junta leader’s choices of song, food, dress, musical instruments and his social media strategy as a whole, while other political parties have already moved on to serious campaign debates. Still, he has the upper hand because of the constitution written for him.
A distraction from Thai politics last week has been the incident at Wat Sing School. The intrusion into the school outraged many and ignites a debate about how Buddhism should be practised.
On 14 February 2019, the Constitutional Court of Thailand accepted the request of Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) to rule on the dissolution of the Thai Raksa Chart (TRC) Party. In other words, 9 judges will decide the fate of the 2019 Thai general election.
On 7 January 2019, after the Thai authorities had a change of heart in regards to the 18-year-old Saudi asylum-seeker Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, Maj Gen Surachate Hakparn, the Thai Immigration Police chief, told reporters: “Thailand is the Land of Smiles. We will not send anyone to die.”
Here is an easy-to-understand guide to Thai General Election 2019 - beginning with the basics, followed by selection of answers to questions we have received. Send questions you think we should answer to email@example.com. What is the 2019 General Election?
“Article 12. Political gatherings of five or more persons, shall be punished with imprisonment not exceeding six months or a fine not exceeding 10,000 baht, or both, unless permission has been granted by the Head of the NCPO or an authorized representative.”
With the ban on parties engaging in political activity still in place, a group of pro-junta politicians is forming a political coalition to support junta leader Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha in the upcoming general elections. The coalition will target the Northeast, the stronghold of the Pheu Thai party.