Thailand has proved to be more politically polarised than ever after the first election in eight years ended in a neck and neck race between the pro-military party and the opposition pro-democracy party. Going to the polls for the first time since the military took power in a coup in 2014, Thais were given the choice between pro-regime parties, who supported the continuation of junta rule through the ballot box, and pro-democracy parties that were fundamentally opposed to the military and wanted to radically change the direction of the country. Yet, by Sunday night, the results were so close that the election commission cancelled the expected official announcement of the outcome until the morning. Preliminary results, with 93% of the votes counted, showed a narrow win for the pro-democracy Pheu Thai, with an estimated 129 seats, compared with 117 seats for the pro-military Phalang Pracharat. It means that neither party achieved the 250 seats needed to form a majority government in their own right and is therefore likely to lead to a scramble on both sides to form a large enough coalition with other smaller parties. However, the result was far better for the military than most had predicted and… Read full this story
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