24 February, 2019, THAILAND, The latest date for Thailand's long-delayed election is Feb 24, and this time the regime appears ready to go through with it. It is the first vote under a rewritten constitution.
The military claims the new charter, Thailand’s 20th, will purge the country of corrupt civilian politicians and restore stability after nearly a decade of political turmoil including two coups.
Critics argue that the changes boost military power and limit the influence of elected officials, potentially leading to political gridlock and even fresh unrest.
Thailand's military has seized power 12 times since 1932, the end of the absolute monarchy. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, now prime minister, led the 2014 coup, the most recent. The last general election was held in 2011. The junta repeatedly postponed the subsequent vote, citing constitutional and security issues.
Thais will elect the 500-seat lower house of parliament, the only popularly elected body under the constitution drafted by the junta and approved by voters in 2016. The 250-member upper house, or Senate, will comprise junta appointees and military brass.
Bloomberg news service notes that the generals also have another lever to play. In a typical parliamentary democracy, the leader of the party with the most seats in the lower house is tapped to head the government. In Thailand, any party that crosses the 5 per cent threshold can nominate a candidate -- and members of both chambers get to vote. So a junta-backed candidate theoretically could sweep the Senate and then need just 126 votes in the lower house to make it to 376.
Why Thailand's Junta Is Cool With an Election (Bloomberg Dec 2017)