Thailand General Election, 2011

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Yingluck Shinawatra

The Thai General Election, 2011 was held on July 3, 2011. Pheu Thai Party emerged victorious in the election. Yingluck Shinawatra becomes the first female Prime Minister of Thailand.

The House of Representatives was dissolved by virtue of the Royal Decree Dissolving the House of Representatives, BE 2554 (2011) on May 10, 2011. Following months of unrest by United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship or "Red Shirt" supporters, incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiv announced that a General Election will be held.

Pheu Thai Party wins

Pheu Thai Party emerged victorious in the Thailand General Election 2011. Yingluck Shinawatra became the first female Prime Minister of Thailand. It is interesting to note that she wasn't in the politics two months before the general election.

With almost all the votes counted, Pheu Thai Party won a clear majority to form the government winning 265 seats, while Democrat party managed to win 159 seats out of 500. The Election Commission of Thailand estimated the turnout to be at 74%.

Yungluck said that she was working on building a coalition.

"I don't want to say it's victory for me and the Puea Thai party but people are giving me a chance and I will work to my best ability for the people,"
"While we are waiting for the official results, the Puea Thai executive has already contacted and discussed with Chart Thai Pattana to work together,"

This is the second General Election in Thailand since a 2006 military coup which unseated former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's Government. About 170,000 police officers will be deployed to protect polling stations.

Exit Polls

Nearly 47.3 million Thais have voted in the General Election. The Exit Polls showed that the main opposition party Pheu Thai Party is heading towards a landslide victory. An exit poll by Assumption University of Thailand showed that Pheu Thai Party is expected to win 299 out of the 500 seats. An exit poll by Nida Poll showed that Pheu Thai will win 275 seats, while the Democrat Party will win 104 seats.

Television footage showed Yingluck, swarmed by flashing cameras and journalists after exit polls indicated her Pheu Thai party claimed a clear majority of the 500 seats in parliament.

Thai Prime Minister concedes loss

Thailand Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, who leads the Democrat Party has conceded his party's loss in the General Election 2011 after 80 per cent of the vote is counted. Official results indicate at this time that Pheu Thai Party would win 251 seats. Yingluck Shinawatra, sister of ousted leader Thaksin Shinawatra is all set to become the first female Prime Minister of Thailand.

"The outcome is clear - Puea Thai has won the election and the Democrats are defeated," he told his party's supporters at his Bangkok headquarters. "I will give the chance to Yingluck, the first woman to form a government. I want to see unity and reconciliation. The Democrats are ready to be in opposition," Abhisit said.

Parties and Constituents

The Thai General Election, 2011 was held in 375 constituencies and 125 party-list seats. The election is a two-tier system, where 47 million eligible voters will choose legislators for 375 constituencies, and depending on the proportion of votes received, 125 "party-list" candidates will be elected on a separate ballot.

There are around 42 political parties fielding 3832 candidates in the 2011 Thailand General Election. The following are the parties that will contest in the 2011 General Election.

  • Democrat Party (Phak Prachatipat) (125 candidates)
  • Pheu Thai Party (PTP) (125 candidates)
  • Social Action Party (125 candidates)
  • Bhumjai Thai Party (BJT) and Chartthaipattana Party (CTP) (125 candidates)*
  • Rak Santi Party(64 candidates)
  • Matubhum Party (40 candidates)
  • Tankhun Pandin (32 candidates)
  • Farmers Network of Thailand (30 candidates)
  • Prachatham (25 candidates)
  • New Politics Party (24 candidates)
  • Phalang Chon (18 candidates)
  • Bamrungmuang (14 candidates)
  • Damrongthai (13 candidates)
  • Prachakorn Thai (13 candidates)
  • Rak Prathet Thai Party (11 candidates)
  • Thai Pen Thai (10 candidates)
  • Chart Samakkee (9 candidates)
  • Muanchon (8 candidates)
  • Seri Niyom (8 candidates)
  • Prachathippataimai (6 candidates)
  • Thai Pensuk (5 candidates)
  • Palang Sangkhom Thai (5 candidates)
  • Cheewit Thee Dee Kwa (4 candidates)
  • Puea Prachachon Thai (4 candidates)
  • Thai Piang Phor (3 candidates)
  • Kasikornthai (2 candidates)
  • Puea Fa Din (1 candidate)
  • Puea Pandin Party
  • Rum Chart Pattana Party
  • Power of Sport Party
  • Pracharaj Party
  • Pracha Santi Party

Timeline

July 3, 2011: Thailand stocks rise and the currency Baht rose the most since February 2008 following Pheu Thai Party's win in the General Election yesterday.

July 3, 2011: Voting begins for the 2011 Thailand General Election. Around 170,000 police officers were deployed at polling stations across the country. The polls opened at 8 am local time. The state TV is broadcasting images of people at polling stations. An estimated 47 million people in Thailand are eligible to vote. Exit polls show a landslide victory by Pheu Thai party.

Pheu Thai Party and its allies win the election. The Thai Baht rose by the most since May 2009. Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva admitted defeat and congratulated Yingluch Shinawatra on the Pheu Thai Party's victory. Defense minister says that the army will accept the verdict of the General Election.

July 2, 2011: The two main political parties wrap up their campaigns.

July 1, 2011: Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Ministerial candidate of the Pheu Thai Party addresses a huge crowd at a campaign. She says "'Please give a chance to this woman to serve the country, Please give a chance to this woman to bring reconciliation back to this country."
Abhisit Vejjajiv, at his campaign says "As long as Thaksin thinks, Puea Thai has to do it - to find ways to give Thaksin back his seized 46 billion baht. The country cannot move forward. Puea Thai does everything for one person."

February 26, 2011: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva's dual nationality is a non-issue in terms of contesting elections or being an MP

February 11, 2011: The Internal Security Act was passed. The legislation includes a switch to a single-seat constituency system from multiple seats, and an increase in the number of politicians elected through party-list proportional representation.

February 9, 2011: Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiv said the country will go for general elections by June 2011 if no political violence is reported.

Democrat Party

  • Have strong support in the south and in Bangkok
  • Popular with middle-cast voters
  • Is seen as the best party that can handle the economy
  • Struggling to win over the poor who constitute the majority of the voters

Pheu Thai Party

  • Stronghold in North and NorthEast
  • Has the backing of the powerful "Red Shirt" supporters

Bhumjai Thai Party

  • Controlled by influential power-broker Newin Chidchob
  • Formed an alliance with Chart Thai Pattana Party
  • Policy pledges include a 2 percentage point cut in value-added tax
  • Pledges Crop price guarantee fund for farmers
  • Pledges monthly payments for the elderly and medical volunteers

Chart Thai Pattana Party

  • Controlled by banned politician Banharn Silpa-archa
  • Strong support in the central region
  • Promotes national reconciliation
  • Analysts view Chart Thai Pattana Party as the most likely party to agree to join a Puea Thai-led coalition