Thailand : the last great meetings of the junta and the opposition prior to the legislative

Thaïlande : derniers grands meetings de la junte et de l'opposition avant les législatives

The opposition parties and pro-junta that will compete on Sunday during the legislative long-awaited Thailand challenged Friday night during the ultimate big meetings for the elections.

The telegenic billionaire Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit, 40 years old, a rising star of the opposition with his newly established party, Future Forward (“forward the future”), has rallied thousands of his supporters in the centre of Bangkok.

It is posed as an alternative to the junta leader outbound, general Prayut Chan-O-Cha, by presenting themselves as the voice of a young generation eager to reconnect with the economic success and the reduction of social inequalities.

The new generation “has the right to make its voice heard in this election,” he hammered in front of the press before going on stage in front of his supporters wearing orange, the color of his party.

“All that counts is winning the battle of ideas,” he insisted.

“People my age don’t want the old politics… We are worried what will happen to the economy if the government (military) is still in place,” explains in the crowd Phastararin Sittsart accounting student of 24 years.

The students are among the seven million first-time voters, out of a total of 51 million going to the polls on Sunday.

Many of them support the new party in the Future Forward, tired of the division of society between two major political forces of the enemy: that of the ex-Prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra and the head of the junta, Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

The first remains the figurehead, despite his exile, “red”, reformers regarded them as dangerous anti-monarchists by the “yellow”, the first of which are the general Prayut, conservatives vowing to protect the monarchy at all costs.

But despite the rise of Future Forward, especially with young people Bangkokiens, the opposition party classic Pheu Thai, Thaksin, keeps the wind in its sails and has also brought thousands of supporters on Friday night.

They say also their frustration, after five years in power of the junta headed by general Prayut Chan-O-Cha.

“It’s been five years and people are kept. But if he becomes Prime minister, this may explode”, explained to AFP a supporter of the Pheu Thai, Bordin Watchalobon, marketing specialist of 51 years.

– Marriage and voting-

While his supporters bombaient the torso in Bangkok, the billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra gathered Friday night his clan at large in Hong Kong for the wedding of her daughter.

Was this the princess Ubolratana, the sister of the king of Thailand and ephemeral candidate for the position of Prime minister of a party pro-Thaksin (dissolved, for having dared to want to enter a member of the royal family in politics).

During the last elections in 2011, Thaksin had won the upper-hand, as it has for nearly twenty years he entered politics.

But this time, the military took the time to prepare the ground, unlike the 2006 coup, after which they had allowed elections, again won by Thaksin.

They have changed the Constitution to ensure that, even in case of victory of the party of Thaksin’s parliamentary Sunday, parliamentary majority is controlled by a Senate, appointed by the military.

They have also modified the system éléctoral to prevent large parties like Pheu Thai to have a parliamentary majority.

This, added to the control of the State apparatus and the operations of patronage conducted for months in the province by general Prayut, gives him a good chance to win Sunday, despite the ras-le-bol of a part of the population.

He has participated also on Friday evening in a last great meeting of the campaign in Bangkok. “Thank you to all the Thais who have worked with me during the last five years… I promise to drive the 77 provinces of the country to a better future”, he launched.

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