Thai politics Thailand

It’s official: Thailand elections set for July 3

The AP says:

Thailand’s king has approved a decree dissolving the lower house of Parliament and setting general elections for July 3, the government spokesman said Monday.

Here’s the nitty-gritty:

The polls will elect 500 members of the lower house, an increase of 20 from the outgoing chamber.

The elections are expected to be fiercely contested between Abhisit’s ruling Democrat Party and the main opposition Puea Thai Party associated with Thaksin.

The Democrats held 172 seats in the outgoing lower house compared to 186 for Puea Thai, which won the most seats in the last elections in 2007 and formed a government that ruled for about a year.

However, controversial court rulings and militant anti-Thaksin demonstrations helped Abhisit’s Democrats take power by wooing enough lawmakers to join a new ruling coalition.

Polls suggest that Puea Thai will win the most seats, but probably not a majority. If so, the balance of power will lie with smaller parties whose allegiances are often won by the number of Cabinet seats they are offered in a coalition government.

The WSJ has more analysis:

Political analysts say the election will be among the most important this key Southeast Asian economy has ever faced and could set the political tone in the country for years to come, determining whether it gets back on track after years of instability or possibly faces renwed unrest.

Here’s more from Reuters, the BBC, and AFP.

And finally, a technical note: It appears that Abhisit is transitioning from his @PM_Abhisit Twitter handle to @Abhisit_DP. (The “DP” presumably stands for Democrat Party.)

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