Thai voters cast early ballots one week before election

Voters wait in line to cast their ballot during advance voting at a polling station in a school in Narathiwat, southern Thailand, on May 7, 2023, a week ahead of the May 14 general election. (PHOTO / AFP)

BANGKOK – Many Thais lined up on Sunday in long queues to vote early in parliamentary elections scheduled for May 14.

More than 2 million Thais had registered for early voting out of 52 million eligible voters who are aged 18 and above, according to the country's election commission.

The election is for the 500-seat House of Representatives

"I wish to see change and improvement in management," said 51-year-old Gosol Pungtaku, one of the 800,000 Bangkok residents who registered for one-day-only early voting in the capital.

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The election could upset the status quo after more than eight years of a conservative pro-military government led by former army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha.

Prayuth, 69, who first seized power in a 2014 coup and remained prime minister after the 2019 election is trailing behind opposition parties in recent opinion polls.

Opposition Pheu Thai Party, a populist group that won five general elections before 2019 and was ousted by Prayuth in the coup, is leading in most polls followed by the progressive Move Forward Party.

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The election is for the 500-seat House of Representatives.