Seven south Thailand constituencies face one horse race

Monday, April 10, 2006

Following a phyrrhic victory by the Thai Rak Thai party, Thailand's caretaker Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra resigned to try to defuse the country's political crisis. It remains unclear what the eventual outcome will be.

In 38 constituencies, Thai Rak Thai (lit. Thais love Thais) stood unopposed and failed to garner support from the required 20% of eligible voters. Seven of those 38 may face the same ballot choice in the upcoming April 23 by-elections, according to the Thai-based English-language newspaper, the Bangkok Post. A repeat of the mass abstention that saw TRT resoundingly rejected in the south would leave the lower house of the parliament short of the required 500 seats and, according to the country's constitution, unable to convene and elect a prime minister. A reading of the constitution reveals that the only likely fallback position would involve intervention from the monarch.

Leaders of the PAD (People's Alliance for Democracy), who have spearheaded the campaign to bring down the Prime Minister, may face arrest, according to a report from the Thai News Agency. Protests organised by the PAD have been peaceful, and no specific charges that may be used against the organisation's leaders are given in the TNA report.

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