By South East Asia correspondent Karen Percy
Posted 1 hour 24 minutes ago
Updated 1 hour 13 minutes ago
Voter turnout has been strong across Thailand’s 88,000 polling booths (File photo). (Reuters: Chaiwat Subprasom )
The vote is the first step to reinstating democratic rule after a military coup last year and 15 months of military rule.
Former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has been living in exile since he was ousted from office.
But the newly formed People Power Party (PPP) has take up his cause and has promised to allow him to return.
Voter turnout has been strong across the country’s 88,000 polling booths.
Earlier, the Election Commission of Thailand (ECT) was predicting 70 per cent of the 45 million eligible voters would take part in the election.
The ECT said it had received almost 1,000 complaints about vote-buying and political manipulation.
The PPP is expected to win the most votes, but the military is said to be operating behind the scenes to stop it from getting into office.
The other major party, the Democrat party, is a more palatable choice for the junta.
No matter who wins, they will have to form a coalition government, which is going to take some time to negotiate.
There are concerns about possible violence if voters do not like the outcome.
Outgoing Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont says the election is being run transparently and fairly.
General Surayud, who became Prime Minister after the coup, will step down once a new government is formed.
“It’s going to be a big change and a comeback to a democratic system,” he said.
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