MONDAY, April 15, 2024

All roads lead to Bangkok on eve of Thailand’s general election

All roads lead to Bangkok on eve of Thailand’s general election

On the eve of Thailand’s general election, major political parties unleashed fleets of colourful trucks to attract the attention of voters on the final day of campaigning, which by law ended at 6pm on Saturday.

Most focused on the vote-rich capital and its adjacent provinces, sending convoys of trucks emblazoned with banners, slogans, and candidate photos.

The trucks also carried politicians who used loudspeakers to blast their final messages to voters.

Party leaders also called on the Election Commission (EC) to ensure transparency and a fair election free from vote buying.

The Election Law prohibits campaigning by any means from 6pm the day before the general election is held. Consequently, final rallies were held on Friday so that they could extend late into the evening.

All roads lead to Bangkok on eve of Thailand’s general election

Incumbent Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, the top prime ministerial candidate of the United Thai Nation Party, joined a convoy of campaign trucks that drove through Bangkok’s old city area.

Standing in the rear of a campaign truck, General Prayut urged voters to turn out in great numbers on election day.

“Vote for the United Thai Nation on the two ballot papers for the constituency candidates and the party,” he said. Voters will have two ballots: One to select the MP for their constituency and another to select the political party they support.

The 500 seats of Representatives will be filled by 400 constituency MPs and 100 party-list MPs.

Peace will continue if he returns to power, Prayut said, adding that Thailand has left a chaotic period in the past.

“We have moved on from a difficult time. Don’t allow the country to go back to that point again. That’s my appeal to all of you,” he said.

Pheu Thai, the main opposition party, sent trucks to all 33 Bangkok constituencies on Saturday.

Its PM candidates Paetongtarn Shinawatra and Srettha Thavisin joined party executives at the launch of the convoys.

The pair joined a campaign convoy that brought them to Democracy Monument, Siam Square and other locations on the Thonburi side of the city. They urged onlookers to vote for the party and its candidates.

All roads lead to Bangkok on eve of Thailand’s general election

The Democrat Party launched convoys of campaign trucks in Bangkok and other provinces throughout the country on the last day of campaigning on Saturday.

Democrat leader Jurin Laksanawisit joined party executives and senior figures on their final campaign trip around Bangkok before the national vote.

Speaking to reporters on Saturday, Jurin called on the EC to ensure a free and fair election.

He pointed to reports of blatant vote buying ahead of advance voting last Sunday.

“It’s the duty of the EC to make sure that the upcoming election is free from any doubts,” the Democrat leader said.

He also said he was confident that his party would receive strong support from voters all over the country.

All roads lead to Bangkok on eve of Thailand’s general election

Move Forward Party leader Pita Limjaroenrat, the party’s sole PM candidate, met with voters at many locations in Bangkok’s Constituency 4, which encompasses Klong Toei and Watthana districts, where he lives.

His party must not lose the election in the constituency where its party leader lives, he joked.

Pita received flowers from supporters, many of whom asked to be photographed with the Harvard University graduate.

Pita also called on the EC to do its utmost to ensure transparency and that the more than 6 billion baht in taxpayer money it spent on the election is not wasted.

The Move Forward leader urged supporters to vote in great numbers to ensure that the party achieves its target of winning 160 seats.

All roads lead to Bangkok on eve of Thailand’s general election

The ruling Palang Pracharath Party also launched campaign trucks in Bangkok to drum up support among city residents for Sunday’s election. The party’s key figures joined its Bangkok election candidates in the rear of the trucks.

Its convoy’s route encompassed many of the capital’s symbolic monuments, like Victory Monument, Memorial Bridge, Democracy Monument, and Wongwien Yai on the Thonburi side.

Palang Pracharath leader Prawit Wongsuwan presided over the launch of the convoy at party headquarters, saying election day belongs to Thai voters.

All roads lead to Bangkok on eve of Thailand’s general election