- 14 May 2023 - 17:52(17:52 GMT)
Here is what the preliminary result looks like
With more than 82 percent of the vote counted, here is where things stand:
- MFP is on track to win 115 constituency seats and 33 percent of the party-list seats.
- Pheu Thai looks set to win 112 constituency seats and 25 percent of party-list seats.
- Bhumjaithai, which spearheaded the campaign to legalise marijuana in Thailand, is projected to win 65 constituency seats and 2 percent of the party list seats.
- Palang Pracharat, led by the prime minister’s deputy Prawith Wongsuwan, looks set to win 40 constituency seats and 1 percent of the party list seats.
- Prayuth’s United Thai Nation party will probably win 25 constituency seats and 10 percent of the party list seats.
- The Democrat Party is on track to win 20 constituency seats and 2 percent of the party list seats.
- 14 May 2023 - 17:37(17:37 GMT)
Pheu Thai congratulates MFP, says ready for talks
Pheu Thai leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra has offered congratulations to the MFP on their election success, saying the party with the most votes will get to lead the next government.
“We are ready to talk to Move Forward, but we are waiting for the official result,” she told reporters in Bangkok.
“I’m happy for them,” she added. “We can work together.”
- 14 May 2023 - 17:16(17:16 GMT)
MFP maintains lead after nearly all votes counted
It is midnight in Thailand and nearly 80 percent of all votes have now been counted.
MFP continues to maintain its stunning lead, according to results published on the election commission website, and is on track to win some 114 of the 400 directly-elected constituency seats.
These include nearly all of the 33 seats in Bangkok.
MFP is also expected to take more than 30 of the 100 party-list seats.
The second-placed Pheu Thai looks set to win some 111 directly-elected seats and 25 of the party-list seats.
- 14 May 2023 - 16:57(16:57 GMT)
MFP will prioritise revising strict lese majese law, says Pita
Amending Thailand’s strict lese majeste law, which punishes insults to the monarchy with up to 15 years in jail, remains a “priority” for MFP, the leader of the progressive party has said.
“It’s one of the laws that has to be amended and that’s the duty of parliament,” Pita told reporters.
“We have enough MPs to push it forward without anybody involved. It’s not conditional. It’s already absolute that we are going forward with it.”
- 14 May 2023 - 16:35(16:35 GMT)
MFP on track to win 160 seats, says Pita
Pita Limjaroenrat, the leader of MFP, says his party has exceeded its goal of winning 100 seats in parliament and is now on track to win 160.
Pita said the stunning result for the youth-led party will give it the ability to form a coalition government with Pheu Thai, which had been favoured to win the vote in pre-election surveys.
“We have proved time and time again that if we form it together, we will be able to answer all the challenges the country is facing,” the MFP leader said.
He again reiterated his stance that MFP would not ally with the incumbent prime minister’s United Thai Nation party or the ruling Palang Pracharat party.
- 14 May 2023 - 16:19(16:19 GMT)
Prominent protest leaders look set to win election
Two young people who played a prominent role in the student-led protests of 2020 and 2021 look set to win election to the parliament, according to partial results.
Chonthicha Jangrew, 30, and Piyarat Chongthep, 28, are running under the MFP banner.
“I’m very happy and grateful for all the votes,” Chonthicha told Al Jazeera from her constituency in Pathum Thani, a province north of Bangkok. “However, there is still a lot to do,” she said. “I must keep pushing the policies we promised to take to parliament.”
Both Chonthicha and Piyarat face a slew of criminal charges over their role in protests. These include charges of insulting the monarchy, each count of which is punishable with up to 15 years in jail.
- 14 May 2023 - 15:27(15:27 GMT)
Pheu Thai, MFP neck-and-neck in constituency seats
With 50 percent of the votes counted, the opposition Pheu Thai and MFP are neck and neck in the contest for the 400 directly-elected constituency seats.
MFP continues to hold a lead over Pheu Thai in the party list seats.
- 14 May 2023 - 14:34(14:34 GMT)
Excitement grows as MFP takes early lead in party-list seats
Supporters gathered at MFP’s campaign headquarters in Bangkok are cheering in joy as they watch preliminary results rolling in on television.
The unofficial results show the progressive party doing much better than expected, with an early lead in the party-list seats and coming in at a strong second in the constituency seats.
“Before the election, I was hoping we would get about 100 seats,” says Phisit Krairot, a 33-year-old engineer. “But the real-time updates I am seeing today exceeds my expectations already. I think we will win about 111 seats,” he tells Al Jazeera.
- 14 May 2023 - 14:07(14:07 GMT)
Opposition in the lead as preliminary results trickle in
Preliminary results are beginning to roll in on the election commission’s website.
With nearly 20 percent of the vote counted, Pheu Thai is leading in the count for constituency seats.
MFP comes in at a close second.
For party-list seats, MFP is leading while Pheu Thai is at second.
- 14 May 2023 - 13:40(13:40 GMT)
MFP hopeful of forming a coalition government with Pheu Thai
Pita Limjaroenrat, leader of the Move Forward Party, has told reporters he is “very happy” with the survey results he has seen so far.
The numbers indicate MFP could win more than 100 seats in the 500-member house, he said. “And looking at Pheu Thai numbers, I think our two parties should be able to form a government,” he added.
Pheu Thai and MFP need to win 376 seats to establish a government.
This is because the prime minister is selected by a simple majority of a joint vote of the 500-member lower house and the Senate, whose 250 members were not elected but appointed during military rule.
- 14 May 2023 - 12:21(12:21 GMT)
Pheu Thai, MFP set to ‘triumph in Thai election’: Exit poll
Pheu Thai and the Move Forward Party are projected to win about two-thirds of all votes cast in Sunday’s election, according to an exit poll by The Nation newspaper.
“Pheu Thai and Move Forward will come first and second, respectively, in both constituency and party-list elections,” the newspaper said.
Pheu Thai is projected to win 32 percent of the seats from the 400 that are directly elected. It is expected to win a similar fraction of the 100 seats allocated to party lists.
MFP is expected to win about 29 percent of the directly-elected seats, as well as the party-list seats.
The Democrat Party is in third, winning about 10 percent in both categories.
Prayuth’s UTN is fourth, with about 8 percent in both categories.
- 14 May 2023 - 10:32(10:32 GMT)
Survey suggests huge wins for MFP in Bangkok
Candidates from the progressive MFP are expected to win nearly all of Bangkok’s 33 constituencies, according to an opinion poll conducted by the National Institute of Development (NIDA), a think tank.
The results of the pre-election survey was published soon after voting stations closed.
It predicted victories for the MFP in 32 constituencies.
Pheu Thai was likely to win the remaining seat, it said.
- 14 May 2023 - 10:16(10:16 GMT)
Polls close in Thailand
Polling stations are closing across Thailand after an election marked by a strong turnout.
Officials at the booths will soon begin counting ballots, with the first results expected within the next few hours.
The Thai Elections Commission says results from the 95,000 polling stations nationwide will be compiled, verified and published on its website from 7pm local time (12:00 GMT) onwards.
Here is a link to the commission’s website.
- 14 May 2023 - 09:20(09:20 GMT)
Long queues reported in Chiang Mai
The governor of Chiang Mai says he is expecting a record-breaking voter turnout in the northern province, citing long queues that have formed outside polling stations.
Nirat Pongsitthavorn told reporters he expected some 85 percent of the province’s voters to show up for the election.
Turnout in the 2019 election was at 83.33 percent.
- 14 May 2023 - 08:40(08:40 GMT)
LGBTQ Thais say election ‘presents a new opportunity’ for equality
LGBTQ voters in Thailand are hoping for a resounding victory for opposition parties, some of whom campaigned on a platform of legalising same-sex marriage in the Southeast Asian country.
Sakesan “Piano” Akaros, who was crowned Miss Trans Global Thailand this year, said the new generation of politicians give her a “new hope” and that the vote “presents a new opportunity in terms of human rights for the LGBT community”.
“What I’m concerned the most is that they just want to win votes from us and do nothing after,” the 29-year-old said.
The MFP has promised to legalise same-sex marriage if they are able to form a government, while Pheu Thai has also pledged to support marriage equality.
Aitarnik Chitwiset, a 26-year-old LGBTQ rights defender, said today’s vote is “very important for the community because there are a few bills, including same-sex marriage, Gender Identity Act, Discrimination Act, that have gone through public hearings”.
A progressive government was necessary to push these bills forward, Aitarnik said.
“For example, the same-sex marriage bill can be prioritised right away if Move Forward Party becomes a government. But if we have conservative government, I fear that they will hold us hostage and we will become nothing but a political pawn.”
- 14 May 2023 - 08:10(08:10 GMT)
How is a prime minister selected?
Parties that win at least 25 seats are qualified to nominate a prime minister and can name up to three candidates.
The prime minister is selected by a simple majority of a joint vote of the lower house and the Senate, whose 250 members were not elected but appointed by a military government.
That means the winning candidate needs at least 376 votes.
- 14 May 2023 - 07:47(07:47 GMT)
Thai voters waiting for ballot counting to start: AJ correspondent
Al Jazeera’s Tony Cheng, reporting from Bangkok, says up to 85 percent of those registered to vote may turn out for the election, according to projections.
“People are now waiting for the moment when the polls close and the count begins. And I think this is something we are seeing all across the country. Many people, both official election observers and just locals, want to see that the [count] process is carried out as efficiently as possible,” Cheng said.
“They’ve cast their ballots, they want to make sure that when the ballot boxes are closed and the election officials come to start the count, everything is clear and above board,” he said.
- 14 May 2023 - 07:22(07:22 GMT)
‘Exciting atmosphere’: Bangkok voters hopeful of change
Voting is proceeding smoothly in the Thai capital, Bangkok, with local officials in several districts reporting a high turnout.
In central Bangkok, a city hall official said each of the five voting booths at the Mater Dei school was handling 600-800 voters, making the process quick and efficient.
Another official in the Phra Khanong area said more than 80 percent of the 500 people eligible to vote at her polling booth had voted by midday.
Voters who spoke to Al Jazeera meanwhile said they wanted change.
“Much depends on the turnout,” said 35-year-old Patharamon, who gave only her first name. “If we pick the right leader for the country, everyone will jump out of the stagnation that we have been facing in the past eight years,” she said.
In the nearby Watha Na district, Mallika Sriboonreung, 60, said most of her neighbourhood had cast their votes by midday.
“I came to vote because I wish for a better person to run the country. The atmosphere is exciting this year,” she said.
- 14 May 2023 - 05:59(05:59 GMT)
‘Great turnout’ in resort city of Pattaya
In Pattaya, the eastern resort city where billions of dollars are earmarked for high-speed trains and a new airport, young and old – some in wheelchairs – queued to vote.
Residents said it was the largest turnout at an election they can remember.
“It’s a great turnout so far … people just want to see change and a new government,” said Sontaya Kunplome, a candidate for the Pheu Thai party.
Voters said they wanted real change this time.
“I want to see the end of the patronage system … you can’t get a bed in a hospital unless you’re connected, forget about getting good care. I want to see things getting better and that taxpayers are well taken care of,” said Somboon Taengsee, a 57-year-old housewife.
People are fed up with the current government, said Charnchai Sensri, 57, a restaurant owner in Koh Lahn, a resort island off Pattaya.
“I want the economy and tourism to be better. This is a tourist city but without tourists, it affects us all.”
- 14 May 2023 - 05:39(05:39 GMT)
Thai youth vote key to election outcome
Tyrell Haberkorn, a Thai studies specialist at the University of Wisconsin, says the youth vote is key to the election.
“The increased youth vote and general awareness of the damage caused by military rule are key factors likely to determine the results of this election,” Haberkorn told The Associated Press news agency.
“After nine years of military rule, people are ready for a change, even those who were not interested in rocking the boat before.”
- 14 May 2023 - 05:19(05:19 GMT)
Opposition may secure victory, but may not be able to govern
This election is the first in Thailand since a youth-led uprising in 2020 that broke long-held taboos by calling for curbs on the powers of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, as well as an end to a near-decade of military-backed rule.
Voters are expected to deliver a strong mandate for change today.
But it is not clear if the opposition parties — projected to win a majority in the 500-member house — will be allowed to form a government.
This is because 250 Senators, who were appointed during military rule, get to take party in the vote to select a prime minister.
Find out more here.
- 14 May 2023 - 04:35(04:35 GMT)
‘Today’s going to be a good day,’ says Paetongtarn
Paetongtarn Shinawatra, Pheu Thai’s top prime ministerial candidate, has also cast her ballot at a polling station in Bangkok.
“Today’s going to be a good day. I feel very positive about it,” she told reporters afterwards.
“Even though the weather is very hot, everyone is still coming out to vote. Thank you for that,” she added.
- 14 May 2023 - 03:50(03:50 GMT)
No complaints so far, says election official
The secretary general of the Election Commission says his office has not received any polling-related complaints since voting began.
“If voters find any wrongdoing at the polling station, please report to us, with details of that booth,” Sawaeng Boonmee said in brief comments to reporters.
He said the commission had received 163 complaints ahead of voting day, including allegations of bribery. “Compared to other elections, this is still not that many,” he said.
Boonmee added that all members of the public were welcome to observe the vote-counting process when polling stations close.
- 14 May 2023 - 03:34(03:34 GMT)
Elderly ICU patient turns up to vote
A 72-year-old man receiving treatment at the intensive care unit of a hospital in Bangkok did not let his condition prevent him from exercising his right to vote.
Kitti Kochanan, rigged to an oxygen tank, showed up at his polling station in a wheelchair to cast his ballot, according to a video posted online by the Thai PBS broadcaster.
“I may be sick physically, but I do t want to lose my right to vote. I want to encourage all Thais to vote,” Kitti said afterwards.
Doctors were on site to help in case of an emergency, Thai PBS reported.
กิตติ คชนันทน์ 72 ปี ผู้ป่วยไอซียู จาก รพ.วิชัยยุทธ พกถังออก ซิเจน มาใช้สิทธิเลือกตั้ง มีทีมแพทย์ดูแลใกล้ชิด การเข้าคูหามีเจ้าหน้าที่ประจำหน่วยไปส่ง ก่อนจะให้เจ้าตัวกาบัตรเลือกตั้งและหย่อนบัตรด้วยตนเอง #เลือกตั้ง66 #เลือกตั้ง14พค #ข่าวไทยพีบีเอส #ข่าวที่คุณวางใจ #ThaiPBSnews pic.twitter.com/N97Jt1qGKX
— Thai PBS News (@ThaiPBSNews) May 14, 2023
- 14 May 2023 - 02:55(02:55 GMT)
Pita hopes ‘desire of the people’ will be respected
Pita Limjaroenrat, who heads the progressive MFP, has cast his vote in Bangkok.
The 42-year-old businessman has emerged as the public’s favoured candidate for the post of prime minister, while his youth-led party is expected to win the second-highest number of seats in parliament.
He told reporters that voting at his polling station had gone “smoothly”.
“Hopefully, the entire country will respect the desire of the people,” he added.
“Personally, I am confident and happy to be using my right as a citizen to vote.”
- 14 May 2023 - 02:38(02:38 GMT)
Prayuth casts his ballot, urges people to vote
The leaders of the most prominent conservative parties have voted in the Thai capital, Bangkok.
Prayuth, the prime minister and head of UTN, appealed to all voters to turn out for the vote.
“I wish for people to come out as much as possible,” he told reporters at his polling station.
Prawit Wongsuwan, who is Prayuth’s deputy and the head of the Palang Pracharat Party, also urged Thais to go vote “for change, for a better future of the country”.
- 14 May 2023 - 01:51(01:51 GMT)
Election officials expect record-high turnout
Electoral authorities have said they expect a record turnout of more than 80 percent in Sunday’s vote.
This is higher than the 75 percent turnout recorded by the commission in the last general election in 2019.
- 14 May 2023 - 01:28(01:28 GMT)
Polls open in high-stakes Thai election
Voting is now under way in Thailand’s general election.
The first voters of the day included one of Pheu Thai’s three prime ministerial candidates, Srettha Thavisin. He cast his ballot in the Thai capital, Bangkok.
— Tan Hui Yee (@Tan_Hui_Yee) May 14, 2023
- 14 May 2023 - 00:47(00:47 GMT)
When will the results be known?
The first unofficial results will start trickling in within hours of polls closing.
The Elections Commission said on Thursday results from the 95,000 polling stations nationwide will be compiled, verified and published on its website from 7pm local time (12:00 GMT) onwards on voting day.
The commission expects unofficial results to be known by 11pm (16:00 GMT) the same evening.
Here is a link to the commission’s website.
- 14 May 2023 - 00:31(00:31 GMT)
Who could be the next prime minister of Thailand?
Sunday’s election will be the latest bout in a long-running battle between parties backed by a royalist-military establishment and a pro-democratic opposition, including one with a track record of winning every election in the past two decades.
Pheu Thai, a party linked to the self-exiled billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra, has a big lead in opinion polls, as it did in previous elections.
It is followed by another opposition party, Move Forward (MFP), which is has galvanised voters with taboo-breaking promises of monarchy and military reforms.
Pheu Thai’s top nominee for prime minister is Thaksin’s 36-year-old daughter, Paetongtarn Shinawatra. The party has also named prominent businessman Srettha Thavisin as a second candidate.
MFP’s sole candidate is 42-year-old businessman Pita Limjaroenrat.
They will go up against two parties led by former army chiefs involved in coups, incumbent Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha of the newly formed United Thai Nation Party, and his mentor Prawit Wongsuwan of the ruling Palang Pracharat Party.
Find out more about the top contenders here.
- 14 May 2023 - 00:14(00:14 GMT)
Fear, excitement as polls set to open
Hathairat Phaholtap, the managing editor of the Isaan Record newspaper, has said Sunday’s vote is the most exciting election of her 20-year career in journalism.
“People are worried and they are scared,” she said ahead of polls opening.
She was referring to fears the royalist-military elite may seek to cling on after nine years in power.
“They have waited for this vote for so long, and it means a lot to them,” she said. “There’s a lot of tension, but also excitement and hope.”
- 14 May 2023 - 00:06(00:06 GMT)
What are the main parties offering voters?
Pheu Thai party
- Target economic growth of 5 percent each year.
- Offer 10,000 baht ($296) handouts via digital wallets for those aged 16 and over to spend in their communities.
- Raise daily minimum wage to 600 baht (from an average of 337 baht) and minimum monthly salaries for university graduates to 25,000 baht ($740) by 2027.
- Help every family earn at least 20,000 baht ($592) per month.
- Triple average income of farmers to 30,000 baht ($888) per rai (0.16 hectare) per year by 2027.
- Upgrade universal healthcare programme.
- One tablet computer per student and per teacher with free internet.
Move Forward party
- New constitution law, reform of armed forces.
- Raise daily minimum wage to 450 baht ($13), with yearly revisions.
- Increase monthly allowance for elderly to 3,000 baht ($89) by 2027.
- Reduce electricity costs, renegotiate power purchasing contracts with concessionaires.
- Fixed bus and urban rail fares.
- Fee internet of 1 GB per month.
- Legalise casinos and online betting run by the state.
United Thai Nation Party
- Increase monthly grants via state welfare cards to 1,000 baht ($30) per person and offer emergency loans of up to 10,000 baht ($296).
- Monthly allowance for elderly of 1,000 baht ($30).
- Reduce electricity bills for low-income earners and farmers.
- Emergency fund of 30 billion baht ($886m) for vulnerable groups.
- Subsidies for domestic travel, co-payment scheme to buy goods or services.
- Allow borrowers to repay some state loans, such as student loans, by working for the public sector.
- Crop harvesting subsidy.
- 13 May 2023 - 23:59(23:59 GMT)
Is Prayuth’s time as prime minister over?
Prayuth Chan-ocha, who first came to power in a coup in 2014, is one of Thailand’s longest-serving prime ministers.
He is seeking re-election again, though constitutional term limits mean he can only remain in the top job for two more years.
But the 69-year-old’s United Thai Nation Party is trailing in the polls, coming in at a distant third in opinion surveys behind the main opposition Pheu Thai and the youth-led Move Forward Party.
It has about 8 percent support, which could translate into about 40-50 seats.
A similar fraction of the public said they favoured Prayuth for the prime minister job, according to a large-scale survey conducted by The Nation paper.
- 13 May 2023 - 23:38(23:38 GMT)
Thailand’s election in numbers
- About 52 million Thais are eligible in Sunday’s vote with four million heading to the ballot box for the first time.
- A total of 500 seats are up for grabs in the lower house of parliament – 400 are constituency seats with the remaining 100 seats distributed in proportion to each party’s overall share of the vote.
- Voters will be given two ballots, one for their local constituency and the other for their preferred party on a national level.
- Some 70 parties are taking part in the election.
- More than 2 million people registered for advance voting on May 7. Election officials reported a turnout of 91 percent on that day.
- 13 May 2023 - 23:22(23:22 GMT)
Mass rallies mark the end of campaigning for main parties
The main political parties wrapped up weeks of campaigning with mass rallies at stadiums and halls in and near Bangkok on Friday.
Supporters dressed up in the colours of their parties and tried to grab selfies with party leaders, while some leaders tried to get selfies with the crowd.
There were rousing speeches and a party-like atmosphere.
Soak in the atmosphere in this photo gallery.
Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies