Thailand’s opposition parties have secured by far the largest number of votes in national elections, delivering a damning verdict to the military-backed government that has ruled the country for nearly a decade.
With more 99% of votes counted, the progressive Move Forward party, which has developed a huge following among young people, and Pheu Thai, the populist party associated with exiled former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, took a strong lead.
Prayuth Chan-ocha, a former army chief who first came to power in a coup in 2014, and who had run a staunchly nationalist campaign, was trailing far behind.
Move Forward party, which wants to reform Thailand’s strict lese majesty law and has taken a strong stance in calling for military reform, shocked even some of its own supporters by outperforming expectations. Throughout the national count, it was neck-and-neck with Pheu Thai, a heavy-weight opposition party which had been aiming to win by a landslide.
Over the past two decades,…
This article was written by Rebecca Ratcliffe, south-east Asia correspondent, and agencies and originally published on www.theguardian.com