Thailand To Hold First General Election Since 2014 Coup
On Sunday, voters in Thailand will choose members of the lower house of parliament.
The general election comes after several delays. It will be the first since the country's military seized power in 2014.
Thousands of candidates are competing for 350 directly elected seats in the lower house. Another 150 are decided through a complex system of proportional representation.
Observers say one of the major issues voters are considering is whether to support the continuation of military rule. But no matter what candidates are elected, the military is likely to keep much of its political power.
That is partly because Thailand's military strongly influenced the writing of the constitution that was accepted in 2017. The constitution gives the military power to appoint all 250 members in parliament's upper house. The constitution also limits the number of lower house members of parliament voters can elect directly.
The process is expected to lessen the influence of large parties. Instead, many smaller parties are expected to gain power and form a coalition government.
Observers say Thais' interest in the election is unusually high. About 75 percent of those registered to vote are expected to do so, says Aim Sinpeng. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Government and International Relations at the University of Sydney.
Thailand's Election Commission reports that over 86 percent of registered early voters have already made their choices.
In addition to the military question, voters are expected to consider economic conditions and growing inequality between rich and poor.
The Associated Press has identified some of the important voting groups. They include struggling farmers and workers, who usually vote for candidates who promise financial help. Young people are also, in general, seeking better jobs and financial gains.
On the other hand, powerful business interests and wealthy families usually want political stability. People connected to the military are also likely to want to keep things the same.
And middle class voters in Bangkok have divided interests. They would like to see reforms in education, government and other areas. But they also want peace and order, says historian Chris Baker, who wrote a book on Thailand.
Official election results are expected by May 9.
I'm Kelly Jean Kelly.
1.middle class 中产阶级
The new middle class consolidated its wealth and power.
2.seized power 掌权
They seized power with the aid of the armed forces.
3.political stability 政治稳定
The prosperity of society depends on political stability and economic development.
4.military rule 军事统治
No one would look with favour on the continuing military rule.
5.Young people are also, in general, seeking better jobs and financial gains.
in general 总体而言
People in general will support us.
In general, the students view these changes as merely cosmetic.
6.On the other hand, powerful business interests and wealthy families usually want political stability.
On the other hand 另一方面
On the other hand, many women choose to go out to work.
On the one hand, they wanted very much to visit their squad leader in hospital; on the other hand, they didn't want to disturb his rest.
观察人士表示，是否继续支持军事统治是选民考虑的主要问题之一 。但是无论哪位候选人当选，军方都可能会保留大部分政治权力 。
部分原因在于泰国军方对2017年通过的宪法的修订产生了巨大的影响 。这部宪法赋予军方任命上议院250名议员的权力，同时还限制了选民直接选出的下议院议员人数 。
观察人士称，泰国人对选举的兴趣异常高涨 。Aim Sinpeng称，约75%的登记选民预计将参加投票 。她是悉尼大学政府和国际关系学院的助理教授 。
美联社已经确定了一些重要的投票群体，其中包括生活拮据的农民和工人 。他们通常会把票投给承诺提供经济援助的候选人 。总体而言，年轻人也在寻求更好的工作和经济收益 。
曼谷的中产阶级选民维护不同的利益 。他们期望看到教育、政府和其它领域的改革 。但他们也渴望和平与秩序，历史学家克里斯·贝克（Chris Baker）说道，他曾写过一本关于泰国的书 。