Thailand dissolves Parliament with immediate effect

UPDATE

Thailand‘s Parliament has been dissolved with immediate effect upon an announcement published today in the Royal Gazette.

His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn Bodindradebayavarangkun of Thailand endorsed the dissolution of the House of Representatives, kicking off the election season.

The Election Committee (EC) has tentatively set the date of the election for May 7, 2023, but this will be confirmed later this week. The EC is required to confirm the date within five days.

The election must take place between 45 and 60 days following today’s dissolution of Parliament.

Voting is compulsory in Thailand. More than 52 million people are required to vote in the upcoming election, where coup leader PM Prayut seeks to extend his tenure for two more years.

Voters will elect 500 members to the lower house in a two-ballot system. Then, 100 seats will be allocated based on the proportion of votes each party receives.

Now that Parliament has been dissolved, Prayut will focus on his election campaign. However, a pre-poll survey shows that Prayut is not as popular a prime ministerial candidate as the opposition Phue Thai Party’s leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra – daughter of ousted PM Thaksin Shinawatra – who was voted as the No.1 candidate.

ORIGINAL STORY: Thailand to dissolve Parliament today ahead of election

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has submitted a decree to dissolve Thailand’s Parliament before the upcoming election in May. The dissolution will come into effect upon its publication in the Royal Gazette, which is expected today.

The decree requires approval from Thailand’s King Maha Vajiralongkorn.

At 9.20am today, government spokesperson Wissanu Krea-ngam said that the date for the election will be confirmed once the dissolution of parliament is published in the Royal Gazette.

The election is expected to take place on either May 7 or May 14, 2023. The date will be set by the Election Commission.

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha is an army general who took power over Thailand during a military coup in 2014, ousting democratically-elected Yingluck Shinawatra.

PM Prayut will run in the upcoming election under the newly-formed United Thai Nation (UTN) party. The UTN is not expected to win many seats but Prayut could become Prime Minister once more if his party ends up in a coalition.

If Prayut does end up back in the PM’s office, he could only serve for two years before reaching the constitutional limit on his tenure, as ruled by the Constitutional Court last year.

Prayut will be up against 36 year old Paetontarn Shinawatra, the daughter of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and the niece of Yingluck Shinawatra.

Paetontarn said the Pheu Thai party will complete “unfinished business” if voted in. Since 2001, the party has been voted into government three times, each term being cut short by court rulings or military coups.

Paetontarn said she is confident she will beat Prayut by a landslide vote. Opinion polls conducted in recent months suggest that she might be right.

“We managed to fix everything in the first year but then four years later we were ousted by a coup, so there are things that we have not achieved,” Peatontarn told Reuters.

Thailand’s stock market was volatile this morning in anticipation of the dissolution of Parliament, according to analyst Apichat Phobanjerdkul. Even with volatility, the Thai stock market is still stronger than other Asian stock markets, said Apichat.

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leah

Leah is a translator and news writer for the Thaiger. Leah studied East Asian Religions and Thai Studies at the University of Leeds and Chiang Mai University. Leah covers crime, politics, environment, human rights, entertainment, travel and culture in Thailand and southeast Asia.