Thai Voters Cast Early Ballots One Week Before Election

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BANGKOK, Thailand (Reuters) – Many Thais queued up in long lines on Sunday to vote in the parliamentary elections scheduled for 14 May.

According to the election commission, more than 2 million Thais have registered for early voting. This is out of 52,000,000 eligible voters aged 18 or older.

Gosol Pungtaku (51), one of 800,000 Bangkokers who registered to vote early in the capital for a single day, said: "I would like to see changes and improvements in management."

Siriporn Nampet, 34, also said that she voted to change.

She told Reuters, "It's like seeing what the previous administration has done and hoping that a new government will take over and govern better."

After more than eight long years of a conservative, pro-military regime led by the former army chief Prayuth Cha-ocha, this election could change the status quo.

Recent opinion polls show that Prayuth is far behind the opposition parties. He was first elected in 2014 in a coup, and remained as prime minister following the 2019 elections, which critics claimed were rigged in favour of the junta's leader. The government denies this charge.

Most polls show that the opposition Pheu Thai Party is the leader, followed by the progressive Move Forward Party. Pheu Thai was a populist party which won five elections in 2019 before being ousted in a coup by Prayuth.

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