Home World Asia News Thailand elections 2014: Yingluck Shinawatra’s party expected to win after opposition boycott

Thailand elections 2014: Yingluck Shinawatra’s party expected to win after opposition boycott

The Thai polling has now ended in a general election boycotted by the opposition and blighted by protests.

Anti-government activists forced some polling stations in Bangkok and the south to close but a large majority elsewhere were said to be peaceful.

Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra called the vote to head off weeks of mass protests aimed at forcing her to resign.

Her party is widely expected to win but legal challenges and a lack of a quorum of MPs may create a political limbo.


Yingluck Shinawatra, who won the last election in 2011, voted soon after polls opened on Sunday near her Bangkok home.

Her opponents took to the streets in November after her government tried to pass an amnesty law that would potentially have allowed her brother, Thaksin Shinawatra, to return from exile.

Thaksin Shinawatra, a former prime minister who fled during a court case in 2008, is reviled by the protesters, who say he controls the government from abroad.

Security has been heavy throughout Thailand, with vast areas under a state of emergency because of the protests.

“The situation overall is calm and we haven’t received any reports of violence this morning,” National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabutr told Reuters.

Security officials said about 130,000 personnel had been deployed across Thailand on Sunday, including 12,000 in Bangkok.

Yingluck Shinawatra, who won the last election in 2011, voted soon after polls opened on Sunday near her Bangkok home

Yingluck Shinawatra, who won the last election in 2011, voted soon after polls opened on Sunday near her Bangkok home

There has been little campaigning for the election and it was unclear how many Thais had turned out.

Voting in 13 of Bangkok’s 33 constituencies, and in 37 of 56 constituencies in the south was disrupted.

These are strongholds of the opposition Democrat Party, which is boycotting the election.

Some voters expressed frustration when they found their local polling stations blocked.

One high-profile politician, independent candidate and anti-corruption campaigner Chuwit Kamolvisit, brawled with anti-election activists.

“They tried to attack me while I was trying to vote,” he said.

Polling in the rural north and east, where Yingluck Shinawatra’s Pheu Thai party has overwhelming support, was largely unaffected.

“Today is an important day,” Yingluck Shinawatra said as she voted.

“I would like to invite Thai people to come out and vote to uphold democracy.”

However, disruption to candidate registration means that even if she wins, there will not be enough MPs in parliament for Yingluck Shinawatra to have full power over government policy, and by-elections will be needed.

The opposition is also likely to mount legal challenges to the election.

Yingluck Shinawatra’s party is already facing a host of challenges in the courts aiming to disband it, as has happened with pro-Thaksin parties in the past.

The Democrat Party, which is allied to the protesters, has been unable to win a majority in parliament for more than two decades.

Many of its members want the government to be replaced by an unelected “people’s council” that would oversee wide reform of the political system.

Trouble broke out in Bangkok on Saturday in a violent clash between pro- and anti-government groups.

A gun battle erupted in the Lak Si constituency as anti-government protesters blockaded a building storing ballot papers. At least seven people were wounded.

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