6 June 2024

Registration of candidates contesting in the election was held from April 3 to 7, marking the official start of the countdown to the May 14 national poll.

In total, 6,679 applied to contend for the 500 MP seats up for grabs – 4,781 for the 400 constituency elections and 1,898 in the 100-seat party-list vote. Another 63 people registered as prime ministerial candidates.

Altogether, 70 political parties are taking part in the race for constituency MP seats while 67 have joined the party-list election. Meanwhile, 43 are eyeing the PM’s seat, according to the Election Commission (EC).

Bangkok has the most candidates, Trat the least

Bangkok, with 33 MP seats, has the highest number of candidates (498) among the country’s 77 provinces. Trat, an eastern seaboard province with only one constituency, has just eight candidates contesting for its lone MP seat.

Of the 4,781 constituency candidates, 3,903 of them are men and 878 women, according to the EC. No breakdown by sex was available for party-list candidates.

Only 14% of PM candidates are women

Out of the 63 prime ministerial candidates nominated by 43 political parties, only nine are women, accounting for just 14% of the total.

Twenty-nine parties nominated only one candidate each, though the law allows up to three. Eight parties nominated two candidates each and six parties put forward a maximum of three nominations.

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Only 2 parties compete for all party-list seats

Only two political parties submitted a full party-list of 100 candidates – Pheu Thai and United Thai Nation.

Ten other parties submitted lists with more than 50 candidates – Bhumjaithai and the Democrats, with 98 candidates each, Thai Sang Thai (97), Move Forward (92), Chartthaipattana (87), Palang Pracharath (85), Prachachat (68), Thai Teachers for People (58), Thai Liberal Party (57), and Klong Thai (56).

Twelve parties submitted lists with fewer than 10 candidates. They are Thailand’s Future (1), Thai Network (3), Palang Thai Rak Chart (4), Democratic Force (4), Thai Forest Conservation (5), Thai Social Democratic (5), Siamese Power (6), Cooperative Power (6), Commoners Party (6), Paradonraphab (6), The Land of Dharma (6), and Fair Party (9).

Six micro-parties opt to fight on

Six out of the 11 tiny political parties with only one party-list MP from the last election, in March 2019, are returning to contest the upcoming national vote, with their hopes placed on the party-list system.

Micro-parties that have registered for this election are Thai Teachers for People, Pheu Chart Thai, Thai Civilized Party, People Progressive Party, New Democratic Party, and New Palang Dharma.

In 2019, the 11 micro-parties managed to win their single seats by attracting a relatively small number of votes – ranging from 33,748 to 69,417. The number of votes need to win a party-list seat was calculated by dividing the total national vote by 500 – the number of seats in the House of Representatives.

However, those parties will need to attract far more votes to secure a single party-list seat at next month’s election, which will be held with a two-ballot system.

Since the 100 party-list MPs will be elected in a separate ballot, the total number of votes will be divided by 100. Based on the number of valid ballot papers in the previous election – 35.5 million – at least 350,000 votes will be required to win a party-list seat in this election.

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2.3 million registered for advance voting

A total of 2,350,969 eligible voters registered for advance voting, set for May 7, a week before election day, the EC said on Wednesday (April 12).

Registration for advance voting was made in person, by mail or online between March 25 and April 9 for those unable to cast their ballots on May 14. Registrants included people who are too busy on May 14, and those who live outside their constituencies or outside Thailand.

Of the registrants, 2,216,950 requested to vote in advance outside their constituencies, 18,880 in their constituencies, and 115,139 from foreign countries where they reside.

Fewer candidates than last election

In the 2019 national vote, 80 political parties fielded a total of 11,181 candidates for constituency MP seats, and 10,608 of these were certified by the EC. This year’s election has seen the number of registered candidates drop 57.2% from four years ago.

The party-list election four years ago saw 2,917 candidates fielded by 81 political parties, of which 2,702 candidates from 76 parties were certified by the EC. The number of party-list candidates registered this year is down 34.9% from the previous election.

By Thai PBS World’s Political Desk

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