Backgrounder: Thailand's general election

14:15, July 03, 2011      

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Polling started on Sunday morning in Thailand's first general election after years of political unrest as voters are casting their votes to pick up 500 members of the House of Representatives.

The polling began at 8 a.m. and will close at 3 p.m. on Sunday. The unofficial results of the election are expected to be available by 10 p.m.

The Election Commission, according to law, shall endorse results within seven days if there is no complaint about electoral fraud. However, one could still file complaints about unfair election within 30 days.

Some 47.3 million eligible voters across the country will pick up 500 members of the House of Representatives, or the lower house -- 375 members from single-seat constituencies and another 125 from party-list category.

The eligible voters must be an over 18-year-old Thai national, if not by birth then by being a citizenship for five years, and must have their name listed in house registration for at least 90 days. Voting in Thailand is compulsory in accordance to the 2007 Constitution's Chapter 4.

Those barred from voting include members of the monk or clergy, those whose voting right is being withdrawn for various reasons, detainees under legal or court orders, whoever of unsound mind or of mental infirmity.

There are 375 constituencies across the country with a total of 90,860 ballot booths. More than 180,000 police officers have been deployed at polling stations nationwide to ensure the vote goes smoothly and peacefully.

Bangkok, the capital of the nation, has the largest number of eligible voters of 4.29 million with 33 constituency seats, followed by 15 seats in the northeastern Nakhon Ratchasima province.

For the constituency-based system, the candidate who gets the largest number of votes in the constituency will win the seat in that constituency. For the party-list, out of 125 seats in total, each party will get seats in proportion to the number of popular votes they win.

A total of 40 political parties field 1,410 candidates in the partly-list category and 34 parties field 2,422 constituency candidates.

Thailand's current government is led by the Democrat Party, which has five coalition partners -- Bhumjaithai, Puea Pandin, Chartthaipattana Social Action and Thais United National Development.

Some 47.3 million eligible voters in Thailand and almost 3 million people from across the country have already registered to vote in advance of the election, according to the Election Commission.

Source: Xinhua
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