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Supporters attend the Pheu Thai Party campaign

Sipa USA

Thailand elects new prime minister as exiled leader comes home

Tuesday is a tumultuous day for Thai politics. Thailand’s parliament has elected a new prime minister, thanks to the Pheu Thai Party and pro-military parties – former foes – joining forces to block the Move Forward Party. This made room for billionaire ex-politician Thaksin Shinawatra to return home after 15 years in exile. Shinawatra ruled the Pheu Thai before he was ousted in a military-backed coup in 2006 and fled to Dubai. With the Pheu Thai and the military-backed parties having set aside their differences, a “super deal” between them has allowed for his return.

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Move Forward Party, Pheu Thai party, and coalition partner leaders sign an MOU in Bangkok, Thailand.

Vachira Vachira via Reuters Connect

Uncertain Thai premiership vote

On Monday, the Thai parliament will meet for the first time since the May 14 election to pick the next prime minister. Whoever gets the nod, some people won't be happy about it in a country with a checkered history of political turmoil: shaky governments, colorful protests, and military takeovers.

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Move Forward Party leader and Thai PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat during the press conference of coalition parties in Bangkok.

Vachira Vachira via Reuters Connect

Election body probes Thai PM hopeful

On Monday, Thailand's electoral commission announced it is investigating whether PM frontrunner Pita Limjaroenrat was qualified to run in last month's general election.

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Move Forward Party leader and PM candidate Pita Limjaroenrat celebrate the party's election results in Bangkok, Thailand.

REUTERS/Jorge Silva

A guide to Thailand’s messy post-election politics

On Sunday, Thai voters shocked the ruling pro-military establishment by delivering a landslide victory for the democratic opposition. Okay, so that means the generals are out, right?


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Thailand's dystopian election

Thailand votes for change

Opposition parties won Thailand's general election, according to a provisional tally released Monday. It was a particularly good day for the progressive Move Forward Party, which promised to curb the power of the army and decentralize the country’s Byzantine bureaucracy. MFP now looks set to win at least 151 seats in the 500-seat lower house.

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Ahead of Thai election, fed-up youth still hope for change they probably won't get
Pyra - bangkok (official video)

Ahead of Thai election, fed-up youth still hope for change they probably won't get

A Thai schoolgirl walks into a classroom. She wears the standard uniform of a white shirt and dark skirt, but something is not right. Her hands are covered in tattoos, bright-red highlights streak through her jet-black hair. On the walls are posters of missing student activists.

When a seedy male teacher with glowing eyes scolds her, a third eye forms on her forehead as she transforms into a fire-breathing naga, a powerful mythological creature that most Thais believe really exists. She sings:

Jump off my Bangkok! Get off my Bangkok!

The music video, by the 30-year-old Thai singer-songwriter Pyra, is a tribute to the defiance and frustrations of an entire generation of young people, fed up with an ossified establishment, dominated by the military and the monarchy, that just won’t let go of power.

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Paetongtarn Shinawatra, daughter of former Thai PM Thaksin Shinawatra and the Pheu Thai party's prime ministerial candidate, at a campaign event in Bangkok.

REUTERS/Chalinee Thirasupa

Thaksin’s shadow looms large over upcoming Thai election

Former PM Thaksin Shinawatra remains a powerful force in Thai politics 17 years after the military ousted the billionaire businessman from office and drove him out of the country. His party, Pheu Thai (or its predecessors), has won the largest number of seats in every election since 2001 with its populist appeals to the rural poor. But it has been twice ousted from power via military coups. In addition to Thaksin (Thais go by their given name), his sister Yingluck suffered a similar fate, in 2014.

Ahead of the May 14 elections for the House of Representatives, Pheu Thai is getting a fresh boost from the next generation: Thaksin’s daughter Paetongtarn, 36, has emerged as an energetic campaigner and one of the main contenders for prime minister. Yet Pheu Thai faces a battle obtaining the nation’s top job given the conservative establishment’s dominance of the political system.

We asked Eurasia Group expert Peter Mumford to explain why.

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Luisa Vieira

The Graphic Truth: Going to the polls in 2023

We've got some big national elections coming up in the first half of 2023. In February, voters in Nigeria, Africa's most populous and largest economy, will pick a new president. Three months later, Thais head to the polls in what will be a major test of the army's political power. And in June, Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan faces his toughest reelection bid since coming to power in 2014. Here are votes scheduled to take place in the first six months of the year, excluding microstates.

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