Thai first local election since the coup – ‘a test for democracy’

A woman casts her vote at a polling station in Prachuap Khiri Khan Province during the provincial elections on 20 Dec. (Photo: Athit Perawongmetha / REUTERS)

20 Dec, NONTHABURI – Thais made their way to polling stations on Sunday to cast their vote during the provincial elections that marked the first test of democracy since the coup in 2014 led by the current prime minister that drew several accusations and subsequently leads to the continuous rallies by the anti-government student activists and pro-democracy protesters.

The elections in 76 provinces outside the capital are the first since PM Prayut Chan-o-cha, who remains in power after last year’s national election, overthrew an elected government in a military coup.

“It’s my duty to vote,” says the 27-year-old banker Korkiet Akaraparn, voting in his first provincial election in Nonthaburi, outside Bangkok. “I hope that there will be new people from this election who bring change.”

Polling officials reported a steady turnout despite Thailand’s biggest surge in Covid-19 infections on Saturday in Samut Sakhon province followed by a sudden rise in local transmissions found the next day. Polling stations were closed at 5:00pm with results expected in the late evening.

On the contrary, instead of waiting for the outcome of the election to be broadcast, the hour-by-hour news update on Covid has drawn more attention to the people.

Source: Thailand Herald