70% of Thais clueless about upcoming senatorial elections

Photo courtesy of The Nation

A new poll revealed that nearly a quarter of Thais are unaware of the upcoming senatorial elections, while a whopping 70% do not understand how the new election system works.

This startling revelation comes as the nation prepares for elections from June 9 to 26, where thousands of candidates will vote among themselves to elect 200 senators.

The poll, conducted by King Prajadhipok’s Institute on May 7 and 18, surveyed 1,620 Thais over the age of 18. The results, published today, paint a worrying picture of public awareness and understanding.

According to the findings, 76.5% of respondents are aware of the election, leaving 23.5% in the dark. However, when quizzed on the election process, only 28.5% correctly answered that candidates would vote among themselves.

“There’s a significant knowledge gap. 21.5% of people mistakenly believe the election involves candidates from different occupation groups, and 15.5% think the public will cast votes directly.”

A startling 34.7% admitted they have no idea how the new voting system operates. Age and education play a crucial role in these misconceptions. While about 30% of those over 60 answered correctly, a massive 73.9% of individuals aged 18 to 25 had no clue or misunderstood the process.

Moreover, 79.3% of respondents with only elementary education were unaware of how the election works, compared to 35.4% of those with a Bachelor’s degree or higher who answered correctly.

The upcoming election will see candidates vote at three levels: district on June 9, provincial on June 16, and national on June 26. This new 200-member Senate will replace the current 250-member Senate, appointed by the junta after the 2014 coup, whose tenure ended on May 10. These appointed senators continue to serve in a caretaker role until the new Senate is elected, reported The Nation.

As the elections loom, the poll highlights a critical need for better public education on the electoral process to ensure a well-informed electorate.

In related news, former Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat made a surprise appearance at the Chiang Mai district office at 9am on Tuesday, May 21, marking the opening of senatorial candidate registrations.

Bangkok NewsPolitics NewsThailand News

Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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