In Blow to Junta, Thai Voters Overwhelmingly Back Opposition Parties

Voters in Thailand overwhelmingly sought to end nearly a decade of military rule on Sunday, casting ballots in favor of two opposition parties that have pledged to curtail the power of the country’s powerful conservative institutions: the military and the monarchy.

With 97 percent of the votes counted early Monday morning, the progressive Move Forward Party was neck and neck with the populist Pheu Thai Party. Move Forward had won 151 seats to Pheu Thai’s 141 in the 500-seat House of Representatives.

In most parliamentary systems, the two parties would form a new governing coalition and choose a prime minister. But under the rules of the current Thai system, written by the military after its 2014 coup, the junta will still play kingmaker.

The election had widely been seen as an easy victory for Pheu Thai, the country’s largest opposition party founded by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. A billionaire tycoon, Mr. Thaksin, 73, was ousted in a coup in 2006 after accusations…

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This article was written by Sui-Lee Wee and Muktita Suhartono and originally published on