Thailand's Move Forward Party (MFP) was leading in the general elections held on Sunday, preliminary data showed. Millions of people in the Southeast Asian country voted to elect a new 500-seat House of Representatives, the lower house of the parliament, for the next four years. Voting continued from 8 a.m. (0100GMT) until 5 p.m. local time (1000GMT). Around 52 million people were eligible to cast their ballots. According to early data released by the election commission, the center-right MFP made early gains leading on 115 constituency and 38 party list seats. The counting is still continuing. Meanwhile, the Pheu Thai Party was second, leading in 111 constituency and 30 party list races. Thailand's political landscape is often divided into two camps: those who support the military establishment, and those who support greater democracy and civil liberties. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, a retired army officer, came to power through a military coup in May 2014, ousting the democratically-elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. He led the military junta until 2019 when he became the prime minister of a civilian government appointed by the junta's hand-picked lawmakers. He has remained in power since, making him one of Thailand's longest-serving prime ministers. The election presents an opportunity for opposition groups to challenge Prayuth's grip on power. The opposition Pheu Thai Party, one of the most popular political parties that won five general elections before being ousted by the coup, was leading in most polls with a solid support base in rural areas and working-class voters. Emerging from the pro-democracy protests in 2020, the progressive MFP, which quickly gained support among young voters and pro-democracy activists, was also considered one of the leading contenders, according to polls.
Source: Anadolu Agency