Speed Reads


Opposition parties the big winners in Thailand's election

With nearly all of the votes counted, Thailand's main opposition parties came out on top in Sunday's election.

The liberal Move Forward party and populist Pheu Thai Party are both set to win more than triple the number of seats of the junta's political vehicle, Palang Pracharat, and the army-backed United Thai Nation, according to a Reuters calculation. About 75 percent of registered voters — 39.5 million people — turned out for the election.

It is not guaranteed that a new government will be easily formed; as The Associated Press explains, Thailand's House of Representatives and Senate will hold a joint session in July to pick a new prime minister, but this is a "process widely seen as undemocratic because the senators were appointed by the military rather than elected but vote along with Sunday's winning lawmakers." The incumbent prime minister, Prayuth Chan-ocha, came to power in a 2014 coup, and ahead of the election warned that a change in leadership could result in conflict.

Move Forward, led by 42-year-old businessman Pita Limjaroenrat, outperformed even the most positive projections, and is on track to capturing all of Bangkok's 33 House seats, AP reports. It was a "sensational" election for his party, Pita told reporters, adding that he wants to form a government that will be "anti-dictator-backed, military-backed parties, for sure. It's safe to assume that minority government is no longer possible here in Thailand."