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Thailand Dissolves Parliament Ahead Of Elections In May

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Thailand’s parliament was dissolved on Monday to make way for elections in May, which are expected to revive an old power struggle between a political movement that has controlled elections for two decades and an establishment supported by the military.

The dissolution of parliament was approved by the King Maha Vajiralongkorn, according to the Royal Gazette, with an election to be conducted 45 to 60 days after the dissolution.

No election date has been set, but earlier on Monday, two people with knowledge of the situation told British news agency Reuters that the vote would happen on May 14.

The decree issued on Monday stated, “This is a return of political decision-making power to the people swiftly to continue democratic government with the King as head of state.”

The billionaire Shinawatra family and its business friends are up for election against parties and candidates supported by their adversaries in the royalist military and old money conservatives.

Parties dominated by the Shinawatra family have prevailed in every election since 2001 and two times during landslides with populist policies targeted at Thailand’s working classes. However, three of its governments were overthrown in military coups or by judicial decisions.

According to a timeline given by the government, the results of the May election will determine the composition of parliament, which will choose a prime minister by the end of July after consulting with the Senate, and appoint a cabinet by early August.

Paetongtarn Shinawatra, the leader of the major opposition Pheu Thai party, is currently the front-runner to become prime minister, according to polls. Her support increased by 10 points to 38.2% in a poll released over the weekend, more than twice the support of her closest rival.

In the most recent National Institute of Development Administration (NIDA) poll, incumbent Prayuth Chan-ocha, who has been in power since his coup against Paetongtarn’s aunt, Yingluck Shinawatra, has been trailing in the surveys.

Till the poll, Prayuth will continue to serve as prime minister.

“I’m glad I’ve built something good, generated revenue for the country and built an industry. There has been a lot of investment. There has been a lot of investment,” said Prayuth, 68, after the dissolution,  while addressing a press gathering and .

“You have to ask the people if they are satisfied or not … I have done a lot in the many years that have passed.”

The NIDA survey of 2,000 individuals also revealed that 50% of respondents would select Pheu Thai candidates.

With the intention of preventing any political maneuvering against her party, which has previously been ousted from power by judicial decisions and military coups, Paetongtarn declared on Friday that she was sure of winning by a landslide.

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